HOUNSLOW Manor School could be moved to a different site in Hounslow and a seperate new school could be built in Brentford under dramatic plans to overhaul the borough's schools.
Oaklands School off Bridge Road would be rebuilt at a new site, Chiswick Community School, Feltham Community College and Longford Community School would all be rebuilt at their current locations if proposals agreed by Hounslow councillors last week go ahead.
The £200m rebuilding plan is designed to increase schools' capacity to cope with Hounslow's population growth and consultation with parents, pupils and staff will begin in the coming weeks.
The council is already looking for a new site for Hounslow Manor and a separate site for a new school in the east of the borough.
Council Leader, Cllr Peter Thompson warned that high birth rates mean the borough's school-age population will rise 'sharply' over the next few years. Birth rates have increased by 25% in the last 15 years and the council estimates that an extra 500 school places will be needed by 2015.
“We are very conscious that we need extra schools and extra school places and the priority of the council is to find new sites,” said Cllr Thompson. “There are not many sites available but it is about looking for somewhere suitable.”
The five schools being redeveloped and building of a new school is just the first phase of a plan to overhaul all the borough's secondary schools.
The work in the first wave will cost Hounslow Council £2m in planning and architects' fees, while the £200m has been earmarked from central government funds.
However, fears have been raised that that money and any subsequent funds could fall victim to the expected squeeze on public spending over the coming years.
The future of Feltham's Skills Centre already rests in the balance as West Thames College waits to hear if government funding is forthcoming and Cllr Thompson is keen to avoid a similar situation with the council's building plans.
“There is no question that this needs to be done and we will make sure we find a way of doing it. Doing nothing is not an option,” he added.
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