Surrey school crisis: Council approves plans to create 330 more places

Western Morning News

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: November 21, 2014


3,000 places are needed by September 2015

Plans to build new classrooms for 330 pupils at three schools have been approved today (Friday).

The authority needs to find £215 million to meet the “unprecedented” demand for thousands of places, said Linda Kemeny, cabinet member for schools and learning.

She added budgets were being “severely squeezed by the growing number of older people needing care”.

Ninety extra places will be created at West Byfleet Infant School, 120 more at West Byfleet Junior and another 120 added to Connaught Junior School in Bagshot.

Earlier this month, the Mirror revealed St John’s School in Redhill was the most in-demand primary in the county, with more than 300 applications for just 30 Reception places.

In one of the starkest warnings yet about Surrey’s biggest ever schools places crisis, council leader David Hodge last month warned not every pupil is guaranteed a place in September 2015.

Three thousand extra school places will be needed by the start of the next academic year, at a cost of £84 million.

But with only £30 million being provided by the Government, the council faces a £54 million gap in funding.

Each year Surrey taxpayers make a net contribution of £6 billion to central government and receive less than £1bn back for services.

“As no other part of the country pays so much in to the national coffers and gets so little back, it seems only right that Surrey’s residents should get a fairer deal for this mammoth task,” Ms Kemeny said.

The planning and regulatory committee approved the proposals.