A PREDICTED surge in pupil admissions is set to be addressed by a £500,000 investment in two Bournemouth schools.

BCP Council is expected to provide the financial support so 'bulge classes' can be provided at the Avonbourne Schools over the next two years.

A report due to be presented to cabinet later this month says pupil place planning projections suggest as things stand there could be insufficient school places in the conurbation in admissions years 2022 and 2023.

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The 'bulge classes' at the schools in Harewood Avenue, Littledown, would ensure the council meets its statutory responsibility to provide sufficient school places for all school-age children living within the area.

The cabinet report says: "There are 4,416 Year 7 places currently available in BCP for 2022. In order to optimise parental preference, it is intended to add temporary places in 2022 and further temporary places in 2023.

"These additional places will move through the school system with the associated cohort."

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Discussions to address the issue have been taking place since before BCP Council was formed in April 2019.

"It was originally thought that as many as 300 (including 150 at the new Livingston Free School) temporary places would be required to accommodate the bulge," the report added. "That figure has now been reduced to 150.

"The United Learning Trust (ULT) has agreed in principle to the temporary expansion of Avonbourne Boys Academy and Avonbourne Girls Academy.

"A feasibility study has established that no new building is required to accommodate the bulge classes; however, some remodelling and refurbishment is required to ensure that the correct teaching and ancillary spaces are available."

The proposed £500,000 investment to support construction works would be managed by ULT with a series of understandings between the trust and the council:

  • That the sum will be spent exclusively on remodelling to add capacity.
  • That a full account of expenditure will be provided.
  • That all relevant public procurement regulations will be followed.
  • That up to 30 temporary Year 7 places in 2022 and a further 30 temporary Year 7 places in 2023 will be made available. These additional places will move through the school system with the associated cohort.

Cabinet members are due to discuss the matter at a meeting on December 15.