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Council set to spend £277m on thousands of new school places

A multi-million pound programme to deliver thousands of new school places is set to be discussed by the council cabinet next week.

The report, ‘delivering new school places for the Borough Local Plan’ sets out the long-term – up until September 2032 – and the short-term – up until 2021 – need for school places in Windsor and Maidenhead.

The project is estimated to cost £277m, which includes £33m which has already been invested in the current school expansion programme and £1.3m over three years to carry out feasibility works to develop a strategic school place expansions programme.

The borough will look to expand existing schools and has identified five free school sites, including a primary and secondary school on Maidenhead Golf Club, Chiltern Road, Spencer’s Farm and Priory Road in Datchet.

There would also be provision for a special needs school on land west of Windsor on the A308.

The new free schools would create 3,750 school places but the total number of places overall, which also takes into account the expansion of existing schools, is set to 8,900.

Cllr Natasha Airey (Con, Park) cabinet member for children’s services said: “This is very top level, but very detailed.

“Each year we will have further accurate data that comes out and the conversations with schools will happen after this paper. Any schools are welcome to talk to us but we haven’t had any conversations yet.”

She said the borough would look to expand good and outstanding schools but, as it is a 15-year plan, it would also look at where the need is and its inclusion criteria.

The strategy would also see the number of surplus places decrease from 10 per cent to 5 per cent.

The report also states all parties to future school expansion would be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which would set out the proposed scheme.

The report will be discussed at the children’s services overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday at Maidenhead Town Hall and by cabinet on Thursday, November 23 at Holyport College.

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