The BBC is reporting claims from council leaders that two in five council areas in England will not have enough primary school places for the number of children by September 2016…
…The LGA now says that schools are “reaching their limits and could soon run out of space and money for extra places”.
It is warning that whoever forms the next government after the general election will have to tackle an escalating shortage of places.
“This tipping point is the biggest challenge the next education secretary will face and councils need a firm commitment that politicians will do everything necessary to ensure no child goes without a place,” said David Simmonds, the chairman of the LGA’s children and young people board.
Over the next decade, the local authorities’ organisation says there will need to be places for an extra 880,000 pupils at a cost of £12bn.
And they have highlighted the scale of the short-term problems.
In autumn 2016, the LGA says there will be a shortage of places for pupils wanting to start primary school in two in five authorities.
The following year half of local authorities will be facing a shortfall, says the LGA. By autumn 2018, this will have risen to three in five, according to the councils’ forecast.
To prevent pupils being left without places, the LGA says the next government will need to commit sufficient funding and give councils the flexibility to create new schools where they are most needed…
In the circumstances, and whatever your opinion on free schools and academies, would it not make sense to allow local authorities to start planning and creating new schools too?
Alternatively, could/should local authorities be actively encouraging those who can build new schools to do so in areas where they know there is under capacity?
In other words, should they be involved in inviting proposals and supporting those they feel make the best case? Just as they might if trying to get businesses to invest in their area (even if they don’t have final say on decisions)?
What would you change to sort this out? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
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