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Two schools have £3m expansion plans scrapped - and five more face delays

By Jordan Reynolds | Walsall | Education | Published:

Two schools in Walsall are set to have £3 million expansion plans scrapped, it has been revealed.

Walsall Council House

And under the plans, which council chiefs are set to approve next week, the expansion of another five schools is set to be delayed by a year.

Walsall Council delayed making a decision on the plans at last month's cabinet meeting after two of the schools, Salisbury Primary School and St Michael's CE Primary School, spoke about concerns.

Under the latest plan, Leighswood School in Aldridge and Salisbury Primary School in Darlaston will no longer be expanded and Manor Primary School, St Michael’s CE Primary School, Short Heath Federation, Mary Elliot and Oakwood will be expanded in 2020, rather than 2019 as planned.

Meetings have since been held with all seven schools affected and the council's report says concerns focused on the "overall change in direction", and the "ability to meet the immediate identified need for places in September 2019" as well as the condition of some of the schools in the absence of an expansion.

The original £21million plan was to expand 12 primary and special schools across 2018 and 2019.

The cancelled expansion of the two schools is set to save the council £3.4m.

The report says there are sufficient places in the areas to accommodate for the children.

Councillor Chris Towe, portfolio holder for education and skills at Walsall Council, said: "I've been out and met with Salisbury Primary School and St Michael’s CE Primary School and both are now content with the view we've taken and are happy to go ahead with what we've agreed.

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"All the schools are content with what is happening, they understand why we've had to do it.

"The Education and Skills Funding Agency has reviewed a number of councils suggesting that we need to look at our school expansion programme and so we did.

"We have to show the need and the value for money.

"There will be temporary accommodation put on St Michael's for the year."

Walsall Council will discuss the expansion at its meeting on Wednesday.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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