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Thousands of extra houses will crowd Telford schools, councillor fears

Telford | News | Published:

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.

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.

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"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.

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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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