Rutland’s schools could be full by 2016

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SCHOOL places for children in Rutland could run out in five years time.

Early projections by Rutland County Council show that new housing in the county and schools switching to academy status could mean there will not be sufficient space for new pupils.

Deputy council leader Terry King (Con) said it was not an immediate worry but was a concern for the future.

He said: “It is a brave new world we face but we are not in crisis by any means.

“There will be a need to expand our primary school places because we are trying to ensure there are more affordable homes for young families in the county, which will mean more young pupils.”

Developers Hawksmead were given outline planning permission for 1,100 homes as part of their Oakham North development in January.

Coun King said the county council held negotiations with Hawksmead about building a new school at the early stages of planning the development but added: “It doesn’t appear the total number of new pupils coming forward will be adequate for a new school.”

He said negotiations were ongoing with Hawksmead over Section 106 agreement money, which developers pay to improve facilities. This could be used to provide additional classrooms to primary schools in the county.

Coun King said: “As Oakham grows, we will have to have discussions with the schools on how to provide more capacity and there is likely to be a need to provide additional classrooms on certain sites.”

The county council is also concerned about places at secondary schools in the future. Uppingham Community College and Catmose College have both become academies and Casterton Business and Enterprise College will become an academy in September.

Coun King said: “Academy status means the schools are their own masters and they don’t have to recognise a catchment area. This is a worry and we will have a role to play in ensuring there are sufficient places for Rutland youngsters.”

He said all three schools were at capacity but that Uppingham and Casterton both took a large number of their from outside the county.

Council officers told the Mercury there was a “small surplus of places within Oakham primary schools” for admission in September but refused to say how many.