NEARLY 500 pupil places are to be created at Langley's Q3 Academy after council bosses approved a £6.5 million plan to expand the school.

Sandwell Cabinet has backed a proposal for the construction of three additional blocks to the main building which will increase student numbers to 1,500.

The council currently projects an additional 3,845 places will be required in secondary schools across the borough by September 2025 to accommodate population growth.

The three-phase project was expected to be completed in September 2019 but changes in the government’s Basic Need funding, which ensures local authorities have enough school places, has meant the plans have had to change.

It is now proposed to build one block next year to accommodate 480 pupils before the remaining two buildings are begun.

The report states: “It is currently projected that an additional 3,845 places will be required in secondary schools by September 2025.

“While the unprecedented growth in the birth rate experienced over recent years has started to ease, the borough continues to receive a high demand for school places, primarily due to increased migration and retention rates.”

Recommending the proposal, Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children services, said: “It will allow us to provide 480 extra places which are desperately needed in that area.”

He added changes in the funding did not take into consideration the increasing numbers of children moving from primary schools into secondary education.

“We need to create more places in year seven places, the current formula used by government counts spaces in the higher and that’s not viable, so we are in negotiations with the education and skills agency to address that at the moment.”