A multi-million pound extension to Carlton Academy which will provide 300 new secondary school places in Gedling has been approved.
It will help take the extra pressure for school places expected from the new Teal Close and Chase Farm developments, which will see hundreds of homes built in the area.
In recent months, several politicians and community groups have raised concerns at what they see as a looming shortfall of school places in the Gedling area, particularly at secondary level.
But as the funds for the Carlton Academy extension were approved at a meeting on May 22, a leading Conservative politician said the move should “put to bed” what he called a “myth” which had been created about the lack of places.
“Over the last few months there’s been much hype in Gedling about the lack of school places in the Gedling area,” said Councillor Chris Barnfather, who is the leader of the Conservative Party in Gedling.
“By no coincidence, of course, on May 2 there were district council elections. Surprisingly in the run up to those elections we heard much from colleagues in Gedling about the potential lack of school places, which caused some alarm, distress and upset to parents with children who were approaching the secondary age transfer.
“This once and for all dispells that myth, although of course there isn’t an election imminent on a local level, so one would suspect that all that upset, all that hype, all that fear that was being propagated will now disappear.”
The money, a total of £2.9m, will be spent to increase capacity over the next five years, after the move was unanimously approved by Nottinghamshire County Council.
A council report said: “The Carlton Academy sits in the Carlton area of Gedling alongside Carlton le Willows which is a standalone secondary trust. These are high performing popular secondary academies in a densely populated area.
“At completion it is expected that these developments will contribute an additional two forms of entry (300 secondary students) over the next five academic years (by 2025) in the planning area.”
However, the council acknowledged the school was oversubscribed in the short term, and said “immediate work” was needed in time for the 2019/20 academic year.
The report said: “In the short term, Carlton Academy agreed to admit significantly over its Published Admission Number (PAN) of 170 in the 2018/19 academic year to admit 235 Year 7 pupils for September 2019.
“This has ensured that in September 2019, linked and catchment children who expressed a preference for The Carlton Academy have secured a school place.
“As a result, immediate work on the site is essential to provide the necessary classroom and specialist areas during the 2019/20 academic year and up to 2027.
“This would require revision should the pace of house building increase, or the base population figure also increases higher than currently projected.”