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Councils warn of potential shortfall in secondary school places

06/09/2017 Kelly

A new report has highlighted a potential shortfall in the number of available secondary school places that may emerge in the coming years.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published an analysis of Department for Education figures and local pupil forecasts that indicate that 49 per cent of councils are at risk of being unable to meet rising demand for secondary school places in the next five years.

This could mean that as many as 125,000 children could miss out on a secondary school place by 2022-23 if action is not taken. If current trends persist, 12 local authorities will face a shortfall in secondary school places in 2018-19, rising to 23 in 2019-20, 41 in 2020-21, 57 in 2021-22 and 66 in 2022-23.

According to the LGA, this problem could be addressed by giving local authorities more control over the expansion of academies and free schools when additional places are needed in a local area, and to build new schools in areas where it is logistically impossible for local academies or free schools to provide the places needed.

The organisation cited the fact that similar measures have allowed councils to greatly expand the availability of primary school places in the last few years.

Richard Watts, chair of the LGA's children and young people board, said: "Councils have worked hard to help create almost 600,000 additional primary places since 2010. This is no small feat.

"However, as those children move on to secondary schools, the majority of which are now academies, securing new secondary places in the areas where they are needed is becoming increasingly difficult."

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