Primary pupil surge put school places at risk

The Local Government Association has revealed that nearly 134,000 children will miss out on a secondary school place by 2023 as a result of the surge in primary school pupils.

Council leaders warn that the country faces a secondary school places ‘emergency’ unless the government provides councils the powers to open schools or direct academies to expand.

The LGA analysis reveals that unless more secondary school places are created, 13 local authorities will face a secondary school place shortfall in 2019/20, and that it will rise to 25 the following year, 46 in 2021/22 and 54 in 2022/23. The analysis predicts that a total of 71 councils (52 per cent) face not being able to meet demand for 133,926 places by 2023/24.

Councils have created an extra 600,000 places since 2010, but say that this warning will impact secondary schools, two-thirds of which are now academies.

 

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “No family should face uncertainty over securing their child’s secondary school. But the reality is we face an emergency in secondary school places where the number of pupils is growing at a far faster rate than the number of places available.

“This is why councils need to be given the powers to help solve this crisis. As a starting point they should be allowed to open new maintained schools and direct academies to expand. It makes no sense for councils to be given the responsibility to plan for school places but then not allowed to open schools themselves. It is only by working with councils, rather than shutting them out, that we can meet the challenges currently facing the education system.”

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