As of 1 May, the borough of Bedford had nearly 18,000 state-funded primary school places and more than 14,000 state-funded secondary school places. Central Bedfordshire had more than 23,000 state-funded primary school places and nearly 25,000 state-funded secondary school places.
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the continuous funding support for Bedford borough and Central Bedfordshire, but he will be aware, given the emergency funding provided by the Government for Raynsford Academy so that it could convert to a primary starting in September, the issues around Langford village and parents not being able to get into the local school and the desperate need for a two-form entry in Sharnbook, that population growth in North East Bedfordshire, which is five times the average of that of all Members’ constituencies, puts continual pressure on school places. Will he and his Department work closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that we fully implement our commitment to infrastructure first?
Yes, of course. I am happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss these issues in more detail. He will know that since 2010, we have seen an additional 8,300 primary school places in the borough of Bedford and an increase of 5,800 in primary school places in Central Bedfordshire. We have allocated £12.7 million just this coming year to provide new school places needed for 2023. That takes total funding to Central Bedfordshire for new school places between 2011 and 2023 to £105.3 million, but I will happily meet my hon. Friend to discuss future plans further.