Bournemouth council backs £4m academy to tackle place shortage

A new £4.15m academy school has been granted approval to open in Bournemouth to make up for a shortfall of 330 reception class places.

The proposal was approved at a Bournemouth Borough Council cabinet meeting earlier.

The town's former Townsend School will be reopened and expanded to create the academy.

It is hoped the new school will meet some of the demand for the September 2013 intake.

Several schools in the Bournemouth area have already increased their capacity as part of the council's School Place Planning Programme.

'Birth increase'

Nicola Greene, deputy leader of the council, said the new school would offer 60 places in each year group, with the option to expand temporarily to 90 places per year group for up to two years.

"Most schools are now at full capacity with limited scope for any further expansion," she said.

"Opening a new primary academy has been identified as the most cost-effective solution to meet the shortfall of reception places in the area.

"We will be looking for a sponsor who can help us to deliver a high standard of community focussed education in a building that is exciting and attractive."

Bournemouth Borough Council forecasts a shortfall of 420 places by 2014 as demand for reception places is expected to increase to 2,070.

A council spokesman said the shortage of places had been caused by a "dramatic increase" of births in the area since 2005.

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