Thousands of extra houses will crowd Telford schools, councillor fears

Education bosses must reveal how demand for extra school places will be tackled when thousands of new homes are built in Telford, a councillor has claimed.

primary school children stock

Conservative councillor Veronica Fletcher, who represents Priorslee, said she was unhappy with Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet response to her questions over the issue.

The authority said there were currently enough school places in the borough following the £200 million Building Schools for the Future programme, which has seen every secondary school in the area rebuilt or remodelled.

Now it wants to review school catchment boundaries due to proposals to increase housing and as part of budget savings.

The changes have been put forward because Burton Borough School, in Newport, is under strain due to property developments.

The council also provides school buses at a cost of £160,000 from Muxton to that school and the boundary change would result in a major cost saving.

Pupils will be offered places at Telford Priory School, in Wrockwardine instead.

But Councillor Fletcher said: “I am still very concerned about capacity in our schools due to the number of houses being built. In our ward alone planning permission has been given for 2,700 homes.

“This area extends to St Georges, Trench and Wrockwardine Wood, but we only have the faith school Holy Trinity, in Priorslee ward, which takes in children from a very wide catchment area so unless there is a plan for the future there won’t be enough places.

“All these planning applications are being approved and I want to know if any thought has been given to secondary school places because we know that there is already pressure on primary school places.

“With the Building Schools for the Future project complete, is money being set aside to deal with extra places in the future?”

Councillor Fletcher also said her ward’s two primary school were already full.

Families can continue to express a preference for other schools, but the allocation of a school place is linked to its proximity to local housing.

A pubic consultation into the changes runs until January 27, and any catchment area changes will start in September 2018.

Some parents in neighbouring Muxton have launched a challenge to the changes and a public consultation is under way. Any changes to catchment areas will be from September 2018.

The consultation exercise will run until January 27.

The authority has already cut its budget by £80 million since 2010,but council bosses expect to have to find nearly £50 million more in savings by 2020.

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Comments for: "Thousands of extra houses will crowd Telford schools, councillor fears"

PJS

Perhaps Veronica Fletcher should have put up more opposition when the decision was made (behind closed doors) to move away from providing the long-promised secondary school for Priorslee, and instead to transplant a pre-existing faith school, demand for which was already dwindling. She might also have protested that whilst the existing default first choice school, Wrockwardine Wood, was being absorbed into the Telford Priory School, the people of Priorslee would have no first choice access to that replacement school. Essentially, there is now no catchment area secondary school for much of Priorslee.

She might also protest against the Tory party's plans to allow the school located in Priorslee and other faith schools to select on the basis of faith only, with no obligation to take pupils of other or no faiths - even if they are in the immediate locality. Whilst many parents would not want to send their children to a school where religious beliefs were foisted upon them, there should nevertheless be some choice when funds allocated for general secondary education have been used to provide such a school.

At present most of Priorslee send their children to out of area Idsall, which itself will have fewer places thanks to greater demand from an expanding Shifnal.

With plans to build many more houses around Priorslee, this really should have been thought through before now, and the faith school should have been placed, as it was before, in an area where parents had the option of either the faith school, or a nearby first choice secular alternative.

pete

As usual you failed to identify the problem being the planning consent to build 2700 houses. Just foisting your own religious hatred and intolerance as usual.Comes to something when Newport residents are having to compete to send their own children to a Newport school. You'd think their independent Cllr would be standing up for them and not rolling over to the corbynista bandwagon.

....................................Bless.

PJS

No religious hatred or intolerance at all. I'm happy for the faith community to have their own school if they want one - they'd had just that in Wellington for a long time - but its replacement should not have been put in place at the cost of the long-promised secondary school for Priorslee, especially when the first choice option for Priorslee children was also removed at the same time.

Now, as for your latest fixation with Newport councillors, I can't offer much help with that, since I don't live there, nor have I ever had the slightest interest in becoming a councillor, in Newport or anywhere else.

I do know, from your previous ramblings, that you are also somewhat obsessed with trollies - is it possible that you have finally slipped off yours? It's been on the cards for some time now after all!

pennwald

Well said PJS - it is disgusting that so many Priorslee families do not have a catchment area secondary school. The Building Schools for the Future project was just another example of TWC incompetence.

The planning consent for 2700 homes isn't the core problem, it is simply exacerbating the problem that already existed before many of the 2700 were given the green light. There has never been a secondary school for residents of Priorslee and there still isn't for the majority of families, despite promises from TWC over many years and a new school being built.