Latest Public Sector News

03.09.13

1,000 councils will face school places shortfall by 2015

England’s school districts will be overwhelmed by demand for primary school places within the next two years, the LGA has warned.

Almost half of all districts are expected to have fewer places than pupils by 2015, analysis of council data from 2012 showed. 99 districts are expected to see 20% more pupils than school places.

The pressure is thought to be due to rising birth rate and immigration. The LGA is calling for more control for how Government funding for new places is spent, arguing that free schools limit councils’ ability to plan strategically, as they have no control over expanding or closing these schools in response to demand.

LGA chairman David Simmons said: “We need to make sure that money comes through the local authority who are often ready with their shovels and diggers to get work under way immediately.”

Education secretary Michael Gove said: “We have more than doubled funding for new school places and we are also setting up great new free schools, which are giving parents a choice of high quality school places in areas Labour neglected.”

But shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: “In choosing to prioritise school capital funding in areas with surplus places through his free schools programme, David Cameron is showing he is out of touch with the needs of ordinary people by failing to meet basic need for school places.”

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