Medway 'needs more primary school places'

Ridge Meadow protest Parents from Ridge Meadow took their campaign to keep the school open to Downing Street

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Medway will need thousands of extra primary school places over the next five years, a report has warned.

The local authority predicts the number of pupils attending primary schools will increase by about 2,400 by 2016.

Councillors will meet later to discuss the school organisation plan, which suggests creating a new school and extending the intake of others.

The authority angered some parents last year when it closed Ridge Meadow Primary School in Walderslade, Chatham.

Councillor Adam Price, the Labour Party's spokesman for education, said the parents should feel "vindicated and angry".

There are currently 83 primary schools in the Medway area teaching more than 20,800 children.

Surplus places

The report predicts the figure could rise to 23,200 over the next five years.

Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester are most in need of extra places, the report says.

Medway Council announced in 2009 it was considering the future of three schools as it restructured education and reduced surplus places.

Thousands of people supported campaigns to keep all three.

The authority chose to close Ridge Meadow, while keeping open St Peter's School in Rochester and St John's Infants in Chatham.

A spokesman for Medway Council said the birth rate had risen since the last school organisation plan in 2003.

He said the latest report suggested the Walderslade area of Chatham would have sufficient school places.

"This is not one of the areas where we are proposing new school provision," he said.

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