Secondary schools will struggle to accommodate tens of thousands of pupils as high immigration levels have left them facing chronic overcrowding, a leaked government document warns. This is from the Telegraph…
The combination of a steady increase in the number of births and a threefold increase in net long-term migration since the mid-1990s means the problem could reach crisis point within two years, the report suggests.
The ‘restricted’ paper prepared by the Department for Education says ministers have “faced fears of an impending shortage for some years” and cites evidence from the Home Office that the “impact of immigration has been substantial”.
It is said to be “an important contributory factor, through both the arrival of migrant children and the high birth rates of some migrant groups”.
According to the seven-page document, an extra 35,000 secondary school places will be required by 2015 to cope with the increased number of pupils.
It says: “This shortage of places is the direct result of the increase in the birth rates since 2002 and the surge in net migration since the mid-1990s.”
Many secondary schools have already started to suffer from problems of overcrowding, with one in five reported to be either full or accepting more pupils than they have capacity for.
Some local authorities are opening extra large schools to cater for 2,000 or more pupils.
…Stephen Twigg, Labour’s education spokesman, said: “More than three years in to this parliament, David Cameron and Michael Gove bear the full responsibility for the primary places crisis that they have presided over.”
However, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, claimed Labour “were warned repeatedly that they hadn’t done enough to plan for a growing population – and once more it’s been left to the Coalition government to clean up the mess”.
He said: “Labour cut 200,000 primary places, slashed the amount spent on areas of population growth, and let immigration soar – and all this in the middle of a baby boom.”
Are plans being made at your/your child’s school and in your local area to cope with the likely increase in number of pupils who will be moving through to secondary level in the coming years? Please let us know…