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Staffordshire will need thousands more school places by 2033 to meet growing demand in the county, it has been revealed.

New facilities are set to be built in Lichfield, Stafford, Tamworth and East Staffordshire in the coming years, with an estimated 5,300 mainstream primary and 2,700 secondary places required within the next decade.

Staffordshire County Council’s latest capital programme for schools was approved by cabinet members at their meeting last month.

Cllr Jonathan Price, cabinet member for education, told members £56million would be spent on building new schools and maintaining and improving existing facilities over the next 12 months.

“More than £14million will be allocated to improve existing provision for pupils with SEND and more than £32million will be spent on building brand new schools over the next three years to accommodate new housing estates.

“These include new primary schools in Stafford, Tamworth, East Staffordshire and Lichfield, and an estimated £26.5million new secondary school to be built in Stafford.

“It’s also important to plan for the future and ensure we are building schools that mitigate the rise in demand for school places.

“Our forward planning has ensured that the overwhelming majority of parents are consistently allocated one of their top choice secondary or primary schools.”

Cllr Jonathan Price

In his statement to Staffordshire County Council’s full meeting, authority leader Cllr Alan White said that it was good news for families that nine out of 10 parents had been allocated their first choice secondary school for their child to attend in September.

He said:

“Of the 8,482 offers made for a Staffordshire secondary school at age 11, 90.8% were for a first-choice school – the national and regional average is around 83%.

“In fact, nearly 99% have been allocated one of their top three preferred schools. It is great that we have such an excellent track record of being able to allocate well above the national average for first preferences, especially as demand for places increases.”

Cllr Alan White

But Cllr Richard Cox spoke of issues in his area of Lichfield District citing the closure of The Hart School’s Hagley Park site following a merger with Fair Oak Academy.

A new all through school is due to be built as part of the redevelopment of the former Rugeley Power Station site, but it is not set to open to pupils until September 2025.

Cllr Cox said:

“I’ve got the one out of 10 [parents not allocated their first choice secondary school] on a number of occasions.

“It seems to be that for those caring parents, the process fails them – we have to understand and deliver the answers with empathy and sympathy.

“There is an appeals system and I’m urging them to go through that process. But it just seems bad decisions by other parties has led to a problem in my view.

“We know we’ve got the all through school going through. I can advise the council I have been pressing the planning authority and the issues that were with planning are effectively sorted.

“Hopefully by the end of April a decision will be confirmed that we will be pressing ahead. That will resolve things I’m sure, but we can’t afford those delays because before long, with the 2025 intake, we may have the same problem.

“I implore everybody to make this happen to ensure we’re not having this discussion of one in 10 being disappointed. I thank our education department for the difficult work they do trying to place young people into schools that would be the parents’ choice.”

Cllr Richard Cox
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Lynnette Peyers
9 days ago

Only 1 new secondary school to be built and it will be in Stafford?? So where are all these extra primary school children going to go when they turn 11?

Simon
9 days ago

Why is Stafford getting a new secondary school and not Lichfield? The amount of houses being built here, and secondary schools are full, surely we need one here?

Maggie
8 days ago

No new Secondary School for Lichfield means that parents will have to accept their precious little one is going to have to go to Nether Stowe and not King Eddies. Nether Stowe is way under its capacity currently while Friary and King Eddie’s are oversubscribed. Until all schools are full the govt will argue we don’t need a new one building.