New housing means four more schools

Mark Robinson, CEO of Scape Group. Photo by Neil Hoyle

Mark Robinson, CEO of Scape Group. Photo by Neil Hoyle

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Central Bedfordshire Council plan to build four new primary schools as part of the Houghton Regis North Urban Extension by 2021, according to it’s School Organisation Plan.

New research from Scape Group, the public sector owned built environment specialist, has revealed that across Central Bedfordshire 217 classrooms or 21 new schools must be built by 2020 to meet growing numbers of primary and secondary school pupils.

Central Bedfordshire Council is already addressing the issue with its New Schools Programme.

In Dunstable and Houghton Regis the School Organisation Plan aims to have four new two form entry (two classes per year) primary schools built and an additional one form entry (one class per year) extension of the existing primary provision in Hoguhton Regis.

It also expects additional secondary school places to be required by September 2019.

The plan states: “There will be a need for future additional primary and secondary school provision for Dunstable and Houghton Regis as a result of a significant amount of housing planned to the north of Houghton Regis.

“A total of 1,933 dwellings are planned within the Dunstable and Houghton Regis area within the 5-year forecast period.”

Councillor Steven Dixon, Executive Member for Education and Skills, said: “With Central Bedfordshire being an increasingly popular place for families to live, that obviously puts a pressure on school places.

“That’s why our School Organisation Plan sets out how the council plans to provide for an additional 6,750 school pupils by 2021.

“We look at current and projected demand across Central Bedfordshire and then plan new school places accordingly.

“The exact timing of any projects is dependent on other factors such as where and when new homes are built.”

Nationally, local authorities are estimating there will be an additional 729,000 primary and secondary school pupils by 2020, based on Department of Education Statistics.

Mark Robinson, chief executive of Scape Group, said: “The country will soon start to feel the full weight of the impending boom in pupil numbers, and we’re already seeing unprecedented pressure on school places.

“A radical new wave of school-building must be a top priority for government.”

For more information on Central Bedfordshire Council’s New Schools Programme visit: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/school/organisation/programme.aspx