Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton 'baby boom' prompts school places plan

A "baby boom" in Southampton has led to city councillors drawing up plans to increase school places by more than 350 within two years.

The authority said there has been an "unprecedented increase" in the number of children being born.

The council is trying to find schools where expansion is possible, with plans for 160 extra places by September 2011 and a further 195 by 2012.

A six-week consultation on the proposals start on Tuesday.

'Pressure on system'

The bigger year groups would work their way through the education system until all year groups were resized resulting in an extra 2,900 primary places by 2018, the council said.

Councillor Paul Holmes, member for children's services at Southampton City Council, said: "During the past few years we have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of children being born in Southampton.

"At the same time, more families are choosing to stay in the city when their children reach school age and less parents can afford private education.

"All of this is creating pressure on our education system, so it is important that we respond in the interests of Southampton's families and schools."

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