Medway draws up plans for new school places

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

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Plans to increase the number of school places in Medway over the next five years have been drawn up and put out to public consultation.

Medway Council's School Organisation Plan is based on forecasts of a 2,629 increase in primary school pupils.

The council said pupil numbers would rise from 20,792 in January 2011 to 23,421 in January 2013.

Surplus places at some schools are expected to meet the demand but some new schools will be needed.

Others will be expanded to take account of increases in the birth rate and new housing developments.

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

Parents predicted at the time that extra places would be needed in the future.

"While in some areas we are seeing a maturing population and a fall in the demand for school places, in others, with more people moving in and an increase in birth rates, there will be a need for more places," said Councillor Les Wicks.

"This plan is all about making sure we are prepared and able to meet the changing demands of the area, so that families have good quality schools nearby."

One development, at Lodge Hill, Chattenden, will include 5,000 new homes and will have two new primary schools and one secondary school.

The council said any new schools would be academies or free schools.

The public consultation continues until 23 September.

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