Report highlights shortage in school places

January 13th, 2015 Category: Schools

There is a chronic shortage of available school places, according to new research. 

A report published by the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that the cost of creating places for the 880,000 extra pupils expected in England by 2023 could place schools under extreme pressure.

The LGA wants the government to fully fund the cost of all the extra places, which is expected to run to £12 billion.

The Labour Party sent 150 local authorities in the UK, a number of Freedom of Information Act requests revealed that 18 per cent of councils that responded do not have sufficient capacity for their current pupil numbers.

Furthermore, the findings showed that the shortages are resulting in many children being educated in large classes or temporary makeshift classrooms.

In addition, 78 per cent of local authorities stated that there would be a need for extra primary school places over the next few years.

Commenting on the findings, David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's children and young people board, said: "We are calling on the government to commit to funding the creation of school places and hand councils the powers to open new schools, for both primary and secondary-age pupils, before time runs out. 

"The scale of this crisis is too much for council taxpayers to pay for alone. Additionally, much of the decision-making about new school places rests in the hands of the government, whose funding for school places came late."

One primary school in Northumberland even held classes in a converted double-decker bus due to the space restrictions.

However, education secretary Nicky Morgan said in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme that more spaces would be made available by academies and free schools.

She added that £5 billion had already been spent in the current parliament on creating new places. 

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