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Baby boom challenge for East Lancashire primary school places
EDUCATION bosses in East Lancashire are making preparations for an influx in primary school children folllowing a rise in birth rates.
But as birth rates rise, Blackburn with Darwen Council is also readying itself for a dip in pupils going to high schools.
According to the latest figures more than 2,000 children are set to leave the local authority’s schools to be taught in an academy and or a free school.
But parts of East Lancashire have seen a 44 per cent rise in birth rates.
Both authorities are exploring ways to cater for the shortage in places at primary schools and Blackburn with Darwen said it remained confident that its numbers will increase by 2016.
Lancashire Council Council is putting together plans to create a primary school in Nelson, relocate another in Barnoldswick to a nearby high school site and extend a third.
Blackburn with Darwen Council is reviewing the best sites to expand its primary schools as the increase in births are not in specific pockets of the borough.
Coun Maureen Bateson, Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive member for children's services, said: “The increase in pupil numbers has already started to be seen in the primary schools and will gradually feed into secondary schools.”
The borough has been faced with additional strains as St Wilfrid’s High School converted to an academy last year and the new Tauheedul Islam Boys’ School will open in September.
But under Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Building School’s for the Future, BSF, scheme, the proposals were agreed for a specific number of pupils for each new, rebuilt or refurbished school.
In Burnley birth rates have increased by up to 23 per cent in some areas so plans are underway to cater for 219 additional children.
And in Pendle, in Barnoldswick alone there has been a 44 per cent increase in births.
Overall across the borough 174 place need to be created.