TEMPORARY classrooms could be installed at two of Bolton’s most popular schools as plans to open a new primary school stall.

Pikes Lane Primary School in Deane and SS Simon and Jude’s CE Primary School in Great Lever have been approached by the local authority to take on extra children this September because of a desperate shortage of places.

More than £1 million has been earmarked to create additional 30 places for new starters at Pikes Lane Primary School and the same number at SS Simon and Jude’s CE Primary School which will also take on an additional 120 places in years three to six.

 Simon Bramwell CEO of Vantage Multi-Academy Trust, which governs SS Simon and Jude’s CE Primary, said: “We have been working with the council to try and alleviate this shortage of places.

“It is a complex process requiring capital funding to put the new classes in place, planning permission to erect them, and sufficient revenue funding to employ the teachers and teaching assistants as well as buying books, computers, furniture and equipment needed to give all the new pupils the same opportunities as our current pupils.

“We are very hopeful of getting all three elements in place so trustees can move ahead with the expansion.”

Town hall chiefs say have been forced to approach schools to take on extra children because of a lack of progress around the opening of a new 420-place primary school in Great Lever, with issues over a site for the new school.

In a council report, officers stated that the pressure for school places in Bolton “is well documented”.

In 2018 the council increased places in the north of the borough at existing schools but held off from doing the same in the south because in 2016 the Government had approved the establishment of a new school to meet demand.

But now because of a “lack of progress” and “uncertainty” around the creation of the school, the council has had to find 60 new reception places in time for September as well as create capacity in other year groups to address the pressure arising out of “in-year admissions”.

A council report seeking financial approval to create the additional places, stated: “Both the Regional Schools Commissioner’s office and the Department for Education have confirmed their continued support to establish the new free school but clearly this will not be available to address immediate primary pupil pressures for Sept 2020.

“In order to meet demand, it is therefore necessary for the council to implement immediate but temporary proposals to address this.”

The cost will be £150k to accommodate the “bulge” year at Pikes Lane and £1.2 million at SS Simon and Jude’s CE Primary from funds to “ to address pupil growth”.

The report adds it is cheaper to buy the modern temporary classes than to hire them.

Both schools are outstanding, as judged by Ofsted, and Pikes Lane and SS Simon and Jude are popular, with demand for places regularly outstripping supply.

SS Simon and Jude CE Primary is part of the Vantage Multi Academy Trust, which is the sponsor behind the proposed new free school,giving more “merit” to the idea of creating places at the school.