Extra 4,274 school seats cost millions

Burntwood J+I school, South Kirkby.'h8571b927
Burntwood J+I school, South Kirkby.'h8571b927

THOUSANDS of empty school places are costing Wakefield Council more than £4m, despite recent closures.

New figures showed there were 4,274 empty desks in the district’s primary schools in August 2011.

It is estimated that each surplus space equates to £1,020 a year spent on running costs of buildings rather than on teaching and learning.

This adds up to £4.35m every year.

The statistics come despite the closure of Burntwood J&I School, Church Top, South Kirkby, in 2010 and Standbridge Primary School and Walton Grove Infant School, both in Wakefield, in 2009 and 2007 respectively.

The figures were revealed in a report that was discussed by Wakefield Council’s lifelong learning overview and scrutiny committee on Monday.

The report also said some schools in the district were oversubscribed and that planning places would become more complicated in the future due to many schools - including Minsthorpe Community College - converting to academies.

Academies can set their own student admission numbers.