Melton parents reassured over pupil spaces though council figures show some schools will soon be over-subscribed

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Parents in Melton have been reassured there are spare spaces in town schools but some will soon be over capacity according to figures released by County Hall.

The prospect of hundreds of new homes being built on a host of planned developments has sparked fears that schools could soon be over-subscribed in Melton.

But the county council said this week that there were 140 spare places in the six primary schools and 433 across the three secondary schools.

However, John Ferneley College and both Brownlow and Swallowdale Primary Schools are all projected to be over-capacity in a year’s time.

A spokesman for Leicestershire County Council said: “Our figures show that, for the coming years, there are sufficient places available at both primary and secondary level for an expected growth in demand and, where appropriate, we would seek developer contributions for additional places arising as a consequence of new housing in the Melton area.

“There will be some challenges for places at the more popular schools which mirrors the county and national picture.

“All of the secondary schools in Melton, plus primaries at Brownlow, Grove and St Mary’s CE, are academies so they will set their own admission arrangements.”

John Ferneley principal Christine Stansfield said her school currently had 1,090 students with space for at least another 10.

She said some spare work areas were now being used as classrooms but there was no need to build anymore at the moment.

Mrs Stansfield said: “We are close to being full and if numbers do increase dramatically we will have to look at a solution so it does not compromise learning.

“We are lucky that we have some large rooms which have enabled us to create new teaching areas.

“We are happy with what we’ve got but population numbers are increasing in Melton and that is something we need to keep an eye on.”

There is no staff room at John Ferneley and Mrs Stansfield said there was no need for one because teachers and pupils interacted effectively in all areas of the school.

She added: “We have a great staff-teacher ratio and we’ve never had a need for a staff room.

“We all eat and drink together and there is a lovely atmosphere in school, which is something I’m very proud of.”

Long Field Academy, which recently joined The Spencer Academies Trust, said pupil numbers would rise for the September intake but there was spare capacity.,

Executive principal Jill Hislop said: “We do have school places available at Long Field.

“And the school has land and we would certainly be able to expand if demand is there in the future.

“If the town does expand then it should be no problem for us.”