In my role as chairman of the children and young people’s committee, it is my responsibility to make sure that there are enough school places across the county to give every child an opportunity to reach his or her potential, writes Coun Philip Owen.
I am proud of the fact that around 90 per cent of Nottinghamshire’s schools are currently rated Good or Outstanding.
There have been pressures in certain areas over the last few years for school places and, as a result, school place planning is put into place years in advance.
I have already given the green light for studies to be carried out looking at the possibility for eight new free schools across the county due to the growth in housing developments.
Capital funding from the council has been set aside for a new school in Bestwood, which is due to open in September 2019.
Work has also started on a new 210-place school on the Rolls Royce site in Hucknall, due to complete in September 2020.
If needed, the school could expand to 315 places.
There’s no doubt that making sure every child in Nottinghamshire has a school place is a complex issue but one that time must be spent carefully analysing and planning ahead for.
It is a much better use of public funds to invest time and money exploring the suitability of proposals at an early stage rather than spending more on abortive planning and design costs.
As well as nearly 600 additional primary places needed across Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Rushcliffe during 2018-19, projections show that 800 more secondary school places will be needed in parts of the county over the next two to five years.
I’ve seen quite clearly there is a bulge beginning to be felt in the secondary school sector following a surge in demand for places at primary schools.
The cost of meeting this demand for additional school places will be around £20 million and will be provided through the Government’s Basic Need Fund.