Extra primary school places for Burnley and Padiham

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Forty-five extra school places have been made available in Burnley and Padiham for children starting school in September.

Thirty places have been created at St John the Baptist RC Primary School, in Thames Avenue, Burnley, and 15 at St Leonard’s in Padiham in response to increased demand due to a rise in birth rates.

The news comes as Lancashire County Council revealed almost 90% of school starters have been given a place at their school of choice.

Mr Paul Bainbridge, Lancashire County Council’s pupil access manager, said: “Places were very tight last year, and this year it’s pretty much the same.

“The birth rate tends to rise and fall and we’re currently seeing an increase in numbers at reception class age.

“Despite this, more than 88% of families are receiving their first preference school and nearly 96% are getting one of their three preferences – and these figures will rise as waiting lists and appeals operate during the summer.

“However, we know it can be very disappointing for parents if they are one of the few who don’t get one of their preferences, and our local admissions teams will be happy to give information and advice.”

Admission letters were due to be sent out to families this week.

Lynn Mappin, head of provision planning at Lancashire County Council, added: “Like other areas in the country, Lancashire is experiencing an increase in the birth rate, and the consequent need for primary school places.

“However, not surprisingly in a county as large as Lancashire, this happens at different rates in different areas – there is rarely a consistent pattern.

“We currently have our eye on a number of “hotspots” where we are monitoring the effects of significant housing developments and a rise in the birth rate.

“We have already added 1,653 places across all schools in Lancashire, including at special schools, and, with the latest set of approvals to consult we are moving to a position of 1,940 places by September 2014.”