North Yorkshire County Council is to set a schools capital programme of at least £58 million over the next three years in order to create additional school places and maintain school improvement.
The county council’s Executive yesterday approved an £18.29m programme for additional places and school improvement priorities for the current financial year. A further £39.3m programme is to be approved later in the year for 2015/16 and 2016/17 specifically for the provision of additional school places. Further sums will be earmarked for school maintenance through to 2017.
The £18m programme approved today will address the following priorities:
- Providing new school places in areas of growth;
- Supporting school improvement and collaboration between schools;
- Maintaining the condition of the school estate;
Upgrading or creating kitchen facilities in preparation for universal infant free school meals in September.
The county council has already created an additional 900 school places in 24 schools, largely primary, which will come on stream in September. A further 230 places will be added to six primary schools in the county up to 2015. It is also proposed to make a start on the development of a wholly new primary school to serve the Staynor Hall development of Selby.
The county council estimates that over the next five years it will need to create between 2,500 and 3,000 places due to an increase in birth rate and major housing developments in urban parts of North Yorkshire
County Councillor Arthur Barker, north Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools said: The county council obviously faces significant challenges in the creation of additional school places, in maintaining the fabric of school buildings and in creating improvements in facilities to support high standards of teaching and learning.
As an authority we have one of the largest number of schools in the country and as the country’s largest rural authority we must address complex issues in planning for additional school places. However, we are confident that the capital programme we have set today will go a long way to supporting our immediate capital priorities.
We welcome the opportunity to use the additional £40m provided by the Government to provide facilities for additional school places in subsequent years.