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3 September 2014, 06:38 | Updated: 3 September 2014, 06:40
A new primary school and extensions to three others have opened for the beginning of the new term - creating an additional 1,155 places following investment of £17.2 million by Peterborough City Council.
After a year in the building, Gladstone Primary School's second site on Bourges Boulevard will be opening its doors for the first time on Wednesday 3 September 2014, the start of the autumn term. The £7 million project has provided an additional 480 places thanks to a new two-storey block containing 16 classrooms.
Also completed ready for the new school year are expansions of Orton Wistow Primary to create an additional 105 places costing just over £1 million, and Woodston Primary to create an extra 210 places costing £2.2 million.
The new Thomas Deacon Academy Junior School on Queen's Gardens will also be opening its doors for the first time next week. The school cost just over £7 million and a year and a half to build and is on the same site as the Thomas Deacon Academy. It will provide places for 360 children.
Councillor John Holdich, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and University, said: "We have made huge investment in our schools in the past few years to ensure that we have modern schools which provide the places that we need to meet demand.
"Between 2007 and 2012 we spent £60 million creating an additional 5,000 places at 19 primary schools. Between 2013 and 2015 we will create an additional 3,282 places costing £50 million.
"These are staggering amounts of money but it is absolutely essential that we provide enough school places to meet the needs of our growing city. It is also important that we are investing in our schools so that they offer a modern environment with up to date facilities for our children to begin their education."
Expansion projects at Ravensthorpe Primary and Fulbridge Academy are also ongoing to create an additional 210 places at each school. Fulbridge Academy is expected to be completed in December, costing £2.9 million, with the £3 million Ravensthorpe extension due to be completed in January 2015. A rebuild of St John’s Church School, Orton Goldhay, is also underway, opening in September 2015 and accommodating 420 pupils.
Work is due to start on site in the coming months on expansions of four other primary schools - Discovery Primary (120 places), Phoenix Special School (54 places) and Thorpe Primary (210 places). City College Peterborough is also being expanded to create a second floor on the existing independent living training facilities which will be used by young people with learning disabilities. The city council secured a £662,500 grant from the government last year towards the work at the college in Brook Street.
Extensions to Southfields Primary, St Michael's Primary, Barnack Primary and Castor Primary are at the feasibility stage and new schools are being considered for Hampton Gardens, Great Haddon and Paston reserve. A new school to replace West Town Primary School is also planned for the former hospital site on Thorpe Road.
Jonathan Lewis, Assistant Director for Education and Resources for Peterborough City Council, said: "We have a duty to provide a school place for every child that needs one and the building programme we are undertaking has ensured so far that we are able to meet the demand.
"In fact, more parents in Peterborough were offered a place for their child at their first choice primary school this year despite an increase in the overall number of applications.
"When you consider that more than three quarters of our schools are now judged good or outstanding by Ofsted, it shows that our investment in education and our commitment to improving standards is paying off."