Bristol schools receive £18m for extra primary places

Bristol schools under local authority control are to receive £18m from the government to pay for extra places.

The city council has to find thousands of primary places in the next four years to cope with a population boom.

Education Secretary Michael Gove urged local authorities to target resources to manage any shortfall of places.

In a joint statement, Lib Dem council leader Barbara Janke and Bristol West MP Stephen Williams said they hoped for further government backing.

In September, Ms Janke wrote to Mr Gove saying extra funding for primary school places in the city was "pivotal".

"This is a growing problem nationwide but, outside London, Bristol is one of the worst-affected cities, partly because of its success as a prosperous economic centre that attracts young families who want good schools for their children," she said.

'Helpful boost'

"The government has at last recognised this and we hope for further backing in the years to come."

Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy said the cash was a "helpful boost".

She said: "I think it's a sign that the lobbying paid off. It's a pot that had to be split between lots of authorities and we have to keep the pressure up.

"It would have been nice to have been given more."

The funding comes after Bristol City Council forecast an extra 3,000 children in primary schools by 2015 and with planned housing, a possible increase of 5,000.

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