An anticipated £300 million will be spent on building new schools and creating extra places.
The money will be invested to ensure there is enough capacity to meet the expected growth in demand as the county’s population grows.
A new report for Staffordshire County Council says £60 million, plus land costs, has been invested in the last five years building five primary schools and one secondary school to meet increasing demand in Stafford, Burton, Lichfield and Cannock.
And it expects another seven schools to be opened in the next five years in Stafford, Tamworth, Uttoxeter, Burton and Lichfield.
Philip White, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Learning and Employability, said:
Staffordshire is growing. More new homes are being built and couples and young families are moving here to take up the well-paid jobs on offer, so we have to meet that increasing demand for school places.
We have a good record of planning and delivering new schools and we expect to invest another £240 million in the next 15 years to ensure parents have the opportunity for their children to be educated in one of their preferred schools.”
Currently 86 per cent of the county’s 400 schools are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, and more than 97 per cent of pupils go to one of their parents’ preferred schools.
The report, to be considered by the county council’s Prosperous Staffordshire scrutiny committee, notes that the authority works closely with the county’s borough and district councils to anticipate planned housing growth and to use money from developers to pay for community infrastructure.
As well as building new schools, the county council has been creating additional space at existing schools across Staffordshire.
Philip White added:
Although we work ahead with the district and borough councils’ local plans, there can be uncertainty about when developers will actually build new homes in a particular area so we do have a degree of flexibility in our planning.
Improving education and skills provision into the next decade is one of this council’s priorities and I’m delighted that we are consistently delivering high quality schools for the next generation.”
The report also praises the authority’s management of delivering new schools, with the cost up to 13 per cent less than the national average.
The schools opening in the five years from 2014 are the primaries at:
1. Veritas Primary Academy in Stafford – opened in 2015;
2. Five Spires Academy in Lichfield – opened in 2015;
3. Henhurst Ridge Primary Academy in Burton – opened in 2018;
4. Poppyfield Primary Academy in Cannock – opening in 2019;
5. Streethay Primary School near Lichfield – opening in 2019.
Plus one secondary school – John Taylor Free School, near Burton, which opened in 2018.
Although dates are indicative, the schools expected to open in the next five years are:
1. North of Stafford Town – now expected in 2021;
2. Anker Valley, Tamworth – expected in 2021;
3. Land West of Uttoxeter (a first school) – expected in 2021;
4. Branston Locks in Burton – expected in 2021;
5. Fradley Park near Lichfield – expected in 2022;
6. South of Shortbutts Lane in Lichfield – expected in 2022;
7. Deanslade Farm in Lichfield – expected in 2022.
NB: Apart from #3 Uttoxeter, all are primary schools.