Secondary school places for all ‘undeliverable’, councils warn

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…

More at: Secondary school places for all ‘undeliverable’, councils warn


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…


Do you think schools could run out of secondary places in your area?

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Categories: Academies, Local authorities, Policy and Secondary.


  1. TW

    Conservative councils should take the lead on this and tell their idiot government that they must change and reverse their ridiculous privatisation programme.

  2. Nairb1

    Some of them already are and like everybody else they are being ignored. Ideology is all that matters to this government and practicality has no place even when it’s from their own supporters.

  3. “Where local authorities identify the need for a new school they are required by law to invite proposals to run a new free school…’, says the DfE.
    So that’s all right then – but what happens if free school proposals don’t materialise or the free school proposer wants to open a free school in part of the LA which doesn’t need extra places.  That’s just what’s happening in Rugby

  4. MadgeJesss

    SchoolsImprove An inevitable consequence of Gove’s prevention of LAs from opening new schools. Entirely predictable.

  5. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is an inevitable consequence of DfE ploughing the academy/FS furrow and refusing money to councils. Awful really

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