A “bulge” in the number of school age children has led to the investment of £4.5 million in new facilities for schools across Kirklees.
Improvements were needed at schools including North Huddersfield Trust School and Reinwood Infant & Nursery and Reinwood Juniors in Huddersfield.
Clr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities at Kirklees Council, told a meeting of Cabinet about the battle of the bulge.
“For several years we have had a bulge in our schools that went through the primary phase and is now in our secondary phase,” she said.
“It’s across all schools and a lot of schools are full as a result. Some have had to put in place temporary measures to accommodate those extra places.”
In the secondary schools improvement works were needed to make extra places permanent but Clr Pattison said in the likes of Reinwood the “bulge” had passed through and money was needed to put the school back to how it was before.
The biggest project will be at Manor Croft Academy in Dewsbury, where a carefully planned expansion will take place so that the school can increase its pupil numbers by 30 per year group.
Cabinet also approved vital works at North Huddersfield Trust School, Thornhill Community Academy, Westborough High School, Headlands CE (VC) J I and N School, Reinwood Infant and Nursery and Reinwood Juniors.
Clr Pattison said: “I am delighted the proposals have been passed by Cabinet so that we can start the process of turning them into reality.
“This is another key step in helping our children to thrive and fulfil their potential in a high-quality school environment.
“I would like to thank all the local schools who have worked with us to accommodate more pupils whilst retaining a firm focus on doing what’s best for the children, young people and families of Kirklees.
“This is an investment in children both now and in the future. We are supporting pupils to achieve better outcomes and, thanks to improved facilities, we are helping school staff to continue inspiring generations to come.”
The plans for Manor Croft Academy include six new classrooms, an extended dining room space and a larger car park. The total cost of the works is an estimated £3.2 million, with £500,000 provided by Delta Academies Trust of which Manor Croft is a part. Cabinet members have agreed the remaining £2.7 million.
Thornhill Community Academy has been taking in extra pupils for the last three years in order to meet additional demand for places. The plan is to invest £600,000 in improved dining facilities.
North Huddersfield Trust School needs extra toilet facilities at a cost of £250,000, while Westborough High School requires £100,000 of work to expand outdoor dining and to help the flow of pupils around school.
At Headlands CE (VC) J I and N, £650,000 will be spent on replacing a modular building with a new, permanent block to ensure the school can keep its nursery provision.
At the shared site of Reinwood Infant and Nursery and Reinwood Juniors, £215,000 is needed for remodelling as pupil numbers return to normal levels.
Clr Pattison said people may ask why the council was putting such investment into academies, which are outside local authority control. She said it remained the duty of local authorities to ensure there were sufficient school places hence the need to invest.