DERBYSHIRE: £1 million school expansion plans

Bolsover Infant and Nursery School
Bolsover Infant and Nursery School

More than £1 million will be spent on school expansions this year in Bolsover, Kirk Langley and Alfreton to cope with rising pupil numbers due to new housing.

The county council has laid out plans for building a total of six more classrooms across the three sites to tackle growing capacity issues.

The total cost of the combined projects is £1.153 million.

As part of the scheme, £375,000 has been set aside for the “over capacity” Bolsover Infant and Nursery School in Welbeck Road for a classroom and group room.

Council officers say the school is struggling to find space due to housing developments to the north of the town.

Alongside this, £275,00 will be spent on three new classrooms at Kirk Langley Primary School in Moor Lane, which is full, to cater for the incoming Radbourne Lane housing scheme.

The developer behind the scheme has put forward a total of £1.3 million to provide extra school places locally via Section 106 agreements – a legal deal between the council and developers to help create a sufficient infrastructure for the new estate.

Leys Junior School in Flowery Leys Lane, Alfreton, is set to gain two new classrooms, with £503,000 being set aside by the county council.

“Insufficient primary school capacity in Alfreton” is being caused by housing developments in Eachwell Lane and Outseats.

The cost of the overall Leys Junior scheme is £750,000, with developers contributing the remaining £247,000.

A county council spokesperson said that there is an excess of 12,000 school places across Derbyshire, but some areas were facing more pressure to provide spots than others.

He said: “The council constantly monitors projected population changes in local communities across the county to ensure there are sufficient school places available for every child who is able to attend school in Derbyshire.

“There are currently more than 114,000 school places in Derbyshire and almost 102,000 pupils. We expect that number of pupils to rise to around 103,400 by 2022/23.

“As part of the planning process we divide the county into planning areas to give us a more accurate picture of where additional places are required, as demand for places varies between different parts of the county.

“We also work closely with district and borough councils to understand the timescale of planned housing developments which may have an impact on the required number of school places.

“This preparation is done some years in advance to ensure that sufficient places are available in each area by the time those places are needed.

“At any given time, there will be individual schools across Derbyshire which require expansion or remodelling to accommodate projected increases in pupil numbers in their catchment areas.

“Where appropriate, we seek to secure funding from housing developers to meet part or all of the cost of expansion of an existing local school or the construction of an entirely new school, if required.

“Basic need funding is often made available by central Government to help provide new school places. Funding may also come from the council or an academy trust.”

The county council has an overall pot of £6.7 million to dish out for other school projects, the majority of which comes from the basic needs funds.

This funding is handed to the council directly from central government and it is earmarked for projects aimed at creating more school places.

Section 106 funding from housing developers is another source of funding for projects like these.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service