Cradley Heath school to get extra class to solve shortage

AN extra 30 classroom places are to be created at a Cradley Heath school to overcome shortages, which left some children unable to start school in the town this term.

Sandwell Council has agreed to fund a temporary “bubble” class at Reddal Hill Primary School from January.

Public consultation will then take place before a decision is made to make the extra class permanent at the school in Trinity Street.

Ward councillor Ann Shackleton called for urgent action early last month when it emerged that more than 60 children did not get their first choice and several were either still at home or are having to travel to schools in other towns six weeks into the new school year.

“The council will cover the staffing costs and I am very pleased that they have moved on this,” she said.

Initially, 18 rising fives who did not get places at their local schools have been offered places at Reddal and so far 10 have accepted. 

Six children are staying where they are and parents of two children who have failed to accept any offers so far have refused places at Reddal. Legally, children do not have to attend school until they are aged five.  

Cllr Shackleton said the new class would free up places at other schools which would enable them to offer places to other youngsters on their waiting lists.

Over-subscribed Timbertree Primary, which has a dozen children on its waiting list, has the space but not the building.

Cllr Shackleton said Reddal Hill Primary had been chosen for an extra class because it has existing provision, with only minor adaptations required.

“We have to look at the lowest cost implications,” Cllr Shackleton said.

She added that for some children who have settled into their classes, parents my feel it will be too disruptive to move them to preferred choice schools nearer their homes.

Reddal Hill headteacher Ceri Neslon declined to comment on the decision to set up the additional class at her school.

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