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London primary schools get cash boost

12/04/2012 Kelly
Primary schools in London are set to receive the largest proportion of cash from a £600 million allocation designed to help alleviate the shortage of places across England.

The chancellor George Osborne announced the extra funding in November last year in a bid to address a predicted shortfall of 450,000 primary school places by 2015.

This figure could reach as high as 800,000 by the end of the decade as the birth rate continues to rise, but recently released Department for Education (DfE) figures have shown where the initial £600 million is set to be spent, the BBC reported.

Boroughs across London are to get the lion's share of the funding, with Brent coming out on top with more than £30 million to invest in new primary school places.

Waltham Forest and Barking and Dagenham were next with just less than £30 million.

The funding will see the construction of new primary schools and the expansion of existing sites in a bid to accommodate more pupils. The money will also pay to employ new primary school teachers and the creation of new teaching jobs.

Redbridge will be awarded £23.4 million and Newham will receive £22.4 million, with Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, and Lewisham all receiving £16 million and higher.

The city of Bristol has been allocated £22.8 million from the funding pot.

A spokeswoman for the DfE said: "In spite of the challenging economic climate, we have doubled the annual funding previously available to help create new school places.

"Funding is targeted at areas where the pressures of soaring birth rates are being felt the most and allocations are based on information that local authorities provide.

"We plan to announce future funding allocations for school places at the end of this year."

However, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said that his counterpart, Michael Gove, is failing to take the places shortage seriously and £600 million will not be enough to address the problem.

Figures from the DfE last month revealed that about 74,000 young people missed out on their first-choice secondary school this year.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801338296-ADNFCR
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