Tuesday 23 May 2017

Football stadium classroom plan

Pupils could be taught at unusual venues including Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex Stadium, according to new council proposals
Pupils could be taught at unusual venues including Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex Stadium, according to new council proposals

Pupils could be taught at a football stadium, a bingo hall or at redundant churches under radical plans being considered to help deliver more school places.

Brighton and Hove City Council has drafted a list of potential buildings and sites to explore whether they might be suitable as classrooms.

The ideas have emerged as the authority grapples with rises in population and pupil numbers, as well as severe pressure on its budgets.

The list includes sites not owned by the Green Party-led authority, including Brighton and Hove Albion FC's Amex stadium, and a bus station and bingo hall in Hove.

Other properties on the list include Brighton Town Hall, Hove police station, office blocks and Albion's former home ground, the Withdean Stadium.

In some cases, a change of use would have to be granted by planners, and costs linked to each option would vary considerably, a report says.

Council officials say their preferred method is to expand popular and successful schools where possible while at the same time maintaining their character.

But they admit they are exploring more "creative and innovative solutions" to keep step with the rising demand for school places.

In the council's school organisation plan for 2012 to 2016, which is being sent out for consultation, it says that potential changes to future planning rules offer a chance to "look at schools in a different way".

Sue Shanks, the council's cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Any decisions we make about catering for rising pupil numbers will be done on the basis of putting the needs of children first."

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