A BOURNEMOUTH school that is not even due to open until next year is already being earmarked for expansion.
Increasing the size of the new Townsend Academy is one of the options being put forward as Bournemouth struggles to cope with an ongoing baby boom.
The council is looking to provide an additional 270 places – or 9 reception classes – for September 2014, on top of those aleady agreed. Even more places will be required in 2015.
Across the country, the majority of councils are now reporting a significant increase in demand for primary school places due to a rising birth rate. But while the increase in births nationally between 2005 and 2011 was 12 percent, in Bournemouth it was 46 per cent.
Councillors will be asked to create an additional 270 places from the following options: Adding an extra reception class at Elmrise, Kingsleigh, St Katharine’s, Epiphany, St Mark’s, Kinson, Stourfield or Winton, building a new two-form of entry Catholic primary school on St Peter’s Iford site, expanding Townsend Academy to make it a three-form of entry school or building a new primary school in the Southbourne or central Bournemouth area.
The report also reveals that the possibility of using spare capacity at some of Bournemouth’s secondary schools to house primary pupils has been considered.
However, this idea was rejected, as this capacity will be needed in the near future as the school population bulge moves up through the education system.
Cllr Nicola Greene, deputy leader and cabinet member for education, said: “We have always made sure that we explore every possible option – we have regular pupil place plannning meetings and we always ask ‘Is there anything that we haven’t though of?’
“Now we have a sponsor for Townsend Academy we can have discussions with them about taking more pupils but there is only so much scope there, I don’t think the site is big enough to permanently expand that academy.”