The BBC is reporting warnings that the legal duty of councils in England to ensure that every child has a school place could soon become undeliverable.
…The Local Government Association (LGA) says councils will struggle to meet this demand under the current system.
Under government rules, all new state schools must be “free schools”, outside local authority control.
But the LGA wants councils to be able to open schools themselves and to require academies, which make up 60% of secondary schools and decide their own admissions policies, to expand as needed.
The LGA says councils have already created an extra 300,000 primary school places but face a new challenge as pupils reach secondary level.
“Councils will do everything they can to rise to the challenge of ensuring no child goes without a place,” said Roy Perry, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.
A Department for Education spokesman said the government had confidence in the current system.
“Where local authorities identify the need for a new school they are required by law to invite proposals to run a new free school and then forward these to the department to decide who would be best placed to do this,” the spokesman said.
“We would encourage councils to work with regional schools commissioners, using their combined local knowledge, to identify top sponsors for new schools in their area, and we are confident there are enough quality sponsors to meet demand.”
But councils said they often struggled to find sponsors for free schools in time to meet demand for places…
Can you foresee a situation where, at least in some areas, there just won’t be enough secondary places to meet demand?
Does the DfE make a fair point in suggesting local authorities could and should do more to invite proposals for new free schools where they have identified a need?
Or is the reality that suitable sponsors just aren’t always showing up where required?
Please share your experiences and insights in the comments or via Twitter…
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!