Education

02.03.17

Academies making it harder for councils to provide first-choice school places

More than half of local councils saw a drop in the proportion of children given their first choice of secondary school, a report on secondary school figures revealed, fuelling evidence that councils were finding it increasingly difficult to accommodate for a growing number of pupils.

The figures, analysed by the Press Association, were taken from Department for Education data for the past year concerning secondary school admissions across the country.

The news, which was announced yesterday on National Offer Day, found that 68 authorities experienced a drop in the proportion of children who were offered one of their overall preferences in 2016.

The analysis also found that 65% of councils had seen the proportion of pupils offered one of their overall preferences had also gone down over the period of five years.

Responding to the figures, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, County Councils Network spokesman for Children, Young People, and Learning, and leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “The importance for parents in getting their children into their preferred school cannot be understated, and despite clear pressures on public services, county authorities continue to ensure thousands of families receive first choice school places up and down the country.

He added: “This is testament to the hard work, planning, and forward thinking of county teams up and down the country.

“But with demand for school places intensifying – with 750,000 estimated to be needed by 2025 – local authorities should be given statutory powers to require academies to expand, where there is clear need in an area, in tandem with councils’ statutory requirement for providing sufficient school places.”

Cllr Hudspeth also warned that without flexibility and sufficient funding it will remain difficult for local authorities to fulfil their duty of providing enough places for pupils.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s children and young people’s board, said: “Creating an extra 300,000 primary places over recent years is a demonstrable record that councils are doing everything they can to rise to the challenge of ensuring no child goes without a place.

“However, as children move on to secondary schools, the majority of which are now academies, councils are working with one hand behind their backs to help as many as possible receive a place at their first-choice school.

“If they are to meet the demand for secondary school places, then existing academy schools should be made to expand where required, or councils should be given back the powers to open new maintained schools.”

A spokesman for DfE said that the government were working to increase the number of school places to ease the problem: “Nearly 600,000 additional pupil places were created between May 2010 and May 2015, and the government is now pushing ahead with the creation of a further 600,000 new school places as part of its wider £23bn investment in the school estate up to 2021.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

November too late for pay cap decision, GMB says

25/09/2017November too late for pay cap decision, GMB says

The GMB has criticised the government’s choice to defer the decision of ending the public sector pay cap until the Autumn Budget on 22 Nove... more >
LGA: TfL Uber decision shows need for ‘urgent reform’ of outdated taxi laws

25/09/2017LGA: TfL Uber decision shows need for ‘urgent reform’ of outdated taxi laws

Councils have this week declared that outdated taxi laws need to be urgently reformed following Transport for London’s (TfL’s) decisi... more >
Councils falling short of preventive care obligations

22/09/2017Councils falling short of preventive care obligations

Councils are failing to meet their obligations to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care as set out in the Care Act 2014. New research p... more >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides ... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
View all News

the raven's daily blog

How would local government look under a Labour government?

25/09/2017How would local government look under a Labour government?

Few will disagree with the statement that the current landscape of local government is one that has been shaped by seven years of Tory influence. Harsh austerity measures have seen pressures on council-run services, as well as the NHS, mount sharply as demand increases. The resurgence of the Labour Party in June’s snap election... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Support for councils following Grenfell

04/09/2017Support for councils following Grenfell

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), discusses the wider lessons of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and what measures and assess... more >
A quiet revolution

04/09/2017A quiet revolution

Dermot Ryan, programme director at NHS Digital for the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), talks to PSE about the importance of moving to the ... more >
Effective leadership in uncertain times

04/09/2017Effective leadership in uncertain times

Dr David Beech, lecturer in people management at Salford Business School, argues that continuous renewal and progress is fundamental to effective... more >
Refocusing professional development

04/09/2017Refocusing professional development

Graeme McDonald, managing director of Solace, discusses the importance of taking time out to focus on learning, especially in the ever-changing l... more >

interviews

‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

30/06/2017‘The HSCN is the realisation of industry best practice’

Keith Smith, public sector business development manager at Virgin Media Business, tells PSE’s Luana Salles that health and social care orga... more >
HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

26/06/2017HSCN: The enabler for a more joined-up public sector

Mark Hall, Chief Assurance Officer at Redcentric, discusses NHS Digital’s project, the new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) and what b... more >
Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

25/04/2017Maintaining the momentum for further devolution

Ahead of this year’s mayoral elections, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, tells PSE’s David Stevenson why the argu... more >
New social care funding misses the point

13/04/2017New social care funding misses the point

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee, reflects on the social care funding released in this year’s ... more >

public sector focus

View all News