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Bath - School growth spurt to fit boom

A baby boom in Bath and north-east Somerset will require an urgent expansion in the size of local schools, council officials have said.

The birth rate in the area has risen from 1,630 babies born in 200001 to 1,836 in 200607.

Those children will start school in September 2011 and a shortfall of places is forecast.

The call for expansion comes after a seven-year review, which closed a number of Bath primaries.

The number of extra babies is not high enough to qualify for government funding to ease place shortages, but Bath North East Somerset Council has secured "basic need funding" to expand one school for 2011 and another for 2012.

In Bath - which still has a three-tier schools system - 41 new places will need to be found by 2012. Further places will be needed when the pupils move on to junior school.

Council officers have decided only to expand schools with an Ofsted rating of good or above.

But Moorland Infant School will have an extra 30 places by 2011, despite its junior school being put into special measures. Newbridge Primary will have 30 extra places by 2012.

The schools chosen for expansion need to be on a site large enough to build on and to accommodate the additional children.

The council also wants to add a small number of places in the Chew Valley and central areas of the region. KM.

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