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Cornwall Faces Shortage of School Places

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:01am 2nd February 2012

Parents in parts of Cornwall could be forced to send their children to school miles from where they live.

A new report warns pressure on places at duchy primaries is set to soar.

It says Newquay will suffer a shortage of a hundred and seventy spaces within three years. Clay country will be nineteen places short while St Ives will have a gap of five.

Newquay dad Jonathan Start tells us his son almost ended up at St Eval, eight miles away. He said, "Being self-employed I could have driven him to school but it's not so easy for lots of other parents. There's no bus service and you can't put a five year old on a bus. Although parents deal with these things it would be a whole lot simpler if they didn't have to go through this stress.

"The council and the government know when children are born or when they go to nursery, given that there is nursery funding available. They must have known that there was this extra amount of child places needed, so we now need to plough extra money, I appreciate there's not a lot of money, into providing extra places for children."

In a statement a spokesperson for Cornwall Council said, "The Council is currently undertaking a review of Basic Need issues across Cornwall in order to prioritise a schools capital programme for 2012-13.  The Basic Need grant allocated annually to all local authorities by central government is sufficient to address issues only at those schools where the need for additional school places is most urgent.

"The Council will therefore prioritise investment where demand for reception places for September 2012 is anticipated to exceed the capacity of schools and will be based on actual application numbers for reception places rather than the pupil population forecasts in this report.  Until this exercise has been undertaken, no definitive announcement of Basic Need priorities will be made by the Council."

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