Devon to spend £9 million on extra school places

County HallCounty Hall

Posted on: 6 September 2017

Nearly £9 million is being spent on three new school projects in Devon.

The county council’s ruling Cabinet is set to agree the spending when it meets next Wednesday (Sep 13).

The three schools are in Okehampton, Barnstaple and Tiverton.

The county council is currently advertising for a sponsor to run the new primary school in Okehampton.

It will initially be able to accommodate 210 children from two to 11 but have the capacity to grow to 420 places.

Government rules mean that most new schools have to be academies but Devon County Council is still responsible for providing the land and meeting the building costs. It will then recoup the costs from current and future development.

The school will be built on land to the north of Crediton Road where nearly 800 homes are planned.

The total cost of the scheme is £6.2 million of which £1.7 million has already been approved with a further £278,000 secured from developers.

Councillors will be told that this leaves £4.1 million to be forward funded by the county council and recouped from future development.

Devon’s Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said: “A new school is urgently needed for the fast-growing town of Okehampton.

“We need to get on with this without delay so that the new school can welcome its first children in September 2018.

“The existing primary school in Okehampton is at capacity and our forecasts show increasing numbers of pupils over the next few years.

“We need to start this process now so that parents choosing a school for September 2018 know who the new sponsor is and can make an informed choice for their application.”

In Barnstaple a new free school is due to open in the west of the town in September 2019.

This will be delivered by the Education Skills and Funding Agency but the county council is being asked to forward fund £1.2 million of the eventual cost to secure the school site at Tews Lane.

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