TWO schools are set for a million-pound cash injection to help keep up with a growing demand for primary places.
Biddick and Easington Lane primary schools face a joint overhaul worth £1,050,000 after birth rates shot up in the Coalfields and Washington areas.
As a result of this baby boom – along with new housing developments in Easington Lane – 105 additional places will be created at each school, boosting pupil numbers at each one from 210 to 315.
A report by Sunderland City Council’s people services directorate says: “Having previously experienced a trend of falling birth rates across Sunderland, there has recently been a reversal in this pattern with increased birth rates in key areas of the city, including Washington and Coalfields.
“Both areas have also been subject to recent housing developments which have placed additional pressure on the sufficiency of primary school places.”
The proposed capital programme will go before the authority’s cabinet tomorrow. However it is expected to be approved as no alternatives have been identified.
Large housing developments around Easington Lane Primary School – at Murton Lane and behind Neil Lane – expected to amount to 450 new homes, could result in between 50 and 112 extra primary aged children.
An investment of £600,000 is therefore needed to increase the number of classrooms by two to 11.
This would increase the capacity of the school by 45 pupils in Key Stage 1 and 60 pupils in Key Stage 2.
Two existing classrooms, leased by the school, will be replaced by the new build saving about £17,000 per year.
Separate studio space for music and drama, increased toilet and storage facilities and the outdoor play area will be extended.
Funding will initially come from the council’s basic need capital grant from the Department of Education.
However, once money starts dropping in from the developers of the two housing estates, who have agreed to contribute £458,758, this will fund the bulk of the scheme.
Some of the work at Biddick Primary School has been completed, with Key Stage 1 accommodation already expanded.
The next phase will add an extension as well as internal remodelling to include two more class rooms, studio space, storage and toilets.
The £450,000 cost will be met by the basic need capital grant.
Work on both schools will start in June next year, if not earlier, and is expected to be completed in time for the new term to start in September 2014.