Millions spent to avoid kids missing out on primary school places

NEW HOME: Ladybirds Pre-School outside the sports building it will move into in mid-October because of a shortage of space at St Bartholowmew's School. SG100713-223NG
NEW HOME: Ladybirds Pre-School outside the sports building it will move into in mid-October because of a shortage of space at St Bartholowmew's School. SG100713-223NG
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Millions have been ploughed into new school buildings in the county over the summer holidays to avoid primary school pupils missing out on a place.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says some areas face a 20 per cent shortfall in places by 2015, but Lincolnshire County Council says it is “ahead of the game”.

Summer holiday work on primary schools due to be ready for pupils today includes –

* £450,000 at Sutton Bridge to build four classrooms and new toilets

* £480,000 at Swineshead St Mary’s to build two classrooms and a new assembly hall

* £54,000 at Kirton Primary for a single classroom

Overall 19 school projects costing £8million are complete or due to be finished by Christmas and these include a £1.7million sixth form centre at The Deepings.

New schools are also planned for Spalding and Bourne in September 2014.

The council says there is “significant” pressure from rising pupil numbers, but the authority is meeting the need.

The county’s executive councillor for children’s services, Patricia Bradwell, said: “We are seeing significant growing demographic pressure in areas of the county, but through careful planning and monitoring we are providing new classrooms, building projects and new schools where there is a need.

“All children have school places, the huge majority the school of their preference and we are constantly checking birth rates to prepare for hot spots and areas of increasing demand.

“Throughout the summer, an £8million building and improvement programme has provided many schools with additional classrooms and facilities, while we have just been successful with a £3.8million bid to the Department for Education towards future improvement schemes and another new school for the county.”

The most expensive project in the £8million programme was a joint project in Lincoln costing £3.3million for a new primary school and the new school from the extra cash will be built in Gainsborough.

* The LGA says two-thirds of all local authorities predict they will have more pupils than places by the start of the 2016 school year.