Council acts to tackle pressure on school places

Three Hartlepool secondary schools are set to increase capacity to tackle a predicted shortage of places across town in the near future.

Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 5:00 am
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

High Tunstall College of Science, Manor Academy and English Martyrs schools are all due to increase their intakes of new starters.

A meeting of Hartlepool council’s Children’s Services Committee heard the town is facing a shortage of places for new pupils over the next seven years.

The committee was told that Hartlepool has experienced pressure on primary places in the north of the town over the last few years due to significant planned housing developments and increasing popularity of schools.

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That will translate to more children than expected moving to secondary school in future years.

A report from Sally Robinson, Director of Child and Adult Services, said: “Current pupil projections and forecasts suggest that there will be a significant increase in secondary school pupil numbers over the next seven years.

“The projections indicate that Year 7 intakes in future years will exceed the number of places available or will allow few surplus places within the system.”

The committee approved to fund the increases from the council’s Basic Need allocation, plus developers’ financial contributions towards education.

Hartlepool’s five mainstream secondary schools have a current combined Year 7 pupil intake of 1,180.

But by September 2020, there are expected to be 1,190 pupils joining secondary school, rising to 1,205, a 2% deficit, by 2022.

English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road, has government funding to be rebuilt or undergo major refurbishment based on 240 new pupil admissions a year.

But that is set to increase to 270 to help tackle the shortage and boost surplus.

Manor Academy is due to increase capacity from 250 to accommodate 280 pupils in each year group by 2022.

And works will be undertaken at High Tunstall to reorganize space to increase capacity from an intake of 220 to accommodate up to 270.

The report said the plans would address the shortage of places and create surplus capacity.

The expansions will be subject to Sport England and planning approvals, and agreement by the academy trusts of Manor Community Academy and English Martyrs’ School.

The report added: “The risk of not expanding the current secondary sector provision will result in the local authority not being able to carry out its statutory duty to provide a school place for every secondary aged Hartlepool child/young person.”