Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry parents' plea over 'surprise' primary pupil intake

Parents are urging Coventry City Council to ensure temporary plans to deal with a surprise intake of primary school children are not made permanent.

Council leaders said 120 children more than they expected had been enrolled to start school over recent weeks because of families moving to the city.

The extra pupils are being catered for in temporary classrooms with extra support staff at five primary schools.

However, some existing pupils' parents called for long-term solutions.

David Kershaw, the city council cabinet member for education, said it was "not an ideal situation" but added it was "one which we have to face".

He said the head teachers and governors at the affected schools - Ernesford Grange, Frederick Bird, Clifford Bridge, Broad Heath and Moat House - along with parents with pupils there, had been kept informed once the council was aware of the situation.

Mr Kershaw said there had been an "influx of people from eastern Europe, which could not have been predicted".

He added: "This year and last, nearly 200 families have moved into the city, partially because it has a reputation of welcoming visitors, but they arrived late and because many have primary-aged children, we had a responsibility to find them school places."

Mr Kershaw added that each school affected had been given extra funds by the council to pay for the additional buildings, resources and teaching assistance needed.

Future plans

Sarah Ockenden, who has a child at Ernesford Grange Primary School, said it was taking on an extra 30 pupils this term.

She said there was no extra space at the school for temporary buildings and that she was concerned it would affect the education for all the children.

She added: "The planning has been very poor.

"We can't see how [these extra numbers] snuck up the council."

Mr Kershaw said the council would now be holding a consultation across all of its primary schools to see what could be done in the long term.

He said the future plans could include allowing other primary schools, which have been unaffected so far, to expand in order to take on the extra pupils.

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