School places created in Barnsley amid growing demand

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An Academy Trust in South Yorkshire has vowed to provide a much-needed 60 new primary school places to ease a growing demand.

Barnsley-based Wellspring Academy Trust will welcome 60 new children every year to Elements Primary School in the town centre until it is full in 2021.

The new places come amid claims by the Local Government Association that the crunch could soon reach a tipping point, with no more space or money to extend schools.

A spokesman for Wellspring Academy Trust said: “Elements Primary School will provide 60 much needed additional primary school places in Barnsley for the next seven years until it reaches its capacity of 420 pupils in 2021.

“Built under the government’s Free Schools programme, Elements is being built in response to local need and has pledged to provide a bus service for families living over a mile away from the school.”

The school - Barnsley’s first independent free primary school - will be built at the Honeywell campus half a mile from the town centre, alongside the Barnsley Sports Academy.

Some 32 primary schools in Barnsley were oversubscribed last year and new houses are due to be built metres away from the site - further increasing the need for a new school in the area.

Schools in Sheffield are also feeling the squeeze as official government figures project there will be a total of 8,022,000 pupils in the country’s schools in 2023 - up from 7,143,000 this academic year.

Dobcroft Infants School in Millhouses is undergoing a consultation to accept an additional 30 Foundation Stage pupils per year, while Oughtibridge Primary School has reported it must make space for 15 more children per year.