ELEVEN new primary schools have been earmarked for the town to cater for Swindon's expected population boom.

The schools will be needed to accommodate children moving to the new developments at Wichelstowe and east Swindon.

Two secondary schools will also have to be built if the 12,000-household Eastern Development Area gets signed off.

The council says it will struggle to fund the planned schools in the EDA.

It is holding meetings with developers for the area to persuade them to stump up capital.

Swindon Council's cabinet member for children's services, Coun Garry Perkins, said: "If we get the go-ahead, the planned expansion for the east would be bigger than the size of Salisbury.

"But we tend not to get contributions from developers until schools are complete, but they want the schools finished before the homes are built."

Three new primary schools will open in Wichelstowe to accommodate 4,500 planned homes.

No secondary school will be provided and pupils from the area may have to go to Ridgeway, which is earmarked for expansion.

South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove questioned whether three schools were necessary.

"I ask has the number crunching been done correctly we don't want a situation as in West Swindon where too many places were created that weren't necessary," said Mrs Snelgrove.

"I'm not entirely persuaded that three are necessary.

"The sites for two of the schools are close to the motorway, which I also question."

The Government has created a new law, which says the running of the schools in Wichelstowe should be offered for public tender.

But the council has applied to retain control of the schools, saying three different companies running them would clash.

East Wichel Primary will open in 2009, West Wichel by 2011 and Middle Wichel by 2014.

Coun Perkins said: "We were worried that the three schools would end up under separate management.

"Three schools run by three separate companies would be detrimental."

The eight primary schools and two secondary schools planned for the east will not be needed until 2030, but Mr Perkins said that doesn't leave much time to organise the infrastructure.

He said Swindon would benefit from receiving funding for schools before housing is built.

"We want to build the schools first so they are ready," he said.

"It is a case of trying to look forward and build as soon as possible. We need up-front funding from either the Government or the developer."