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London's shortage of school places to reach 90,000 by 2016

06/09/2012 Kelly
More jobs in education are being created across London as new classrooms are opened to meet growing demand for school places.

But despite these efforts, fears abound that the current shortfall will continue growing over the next several years and hit approximately 90,000 places by 2016.

That is the stark warning that has been put forward by London Councils, which represents the 32 councils that run the capital. It has warned that the cost of meeting such a shortfall in primary and secondary school places over the next four years will come to approximately £2.3 billion.

An analysis completed by the organisation indicates that the shortage of school places is currently growing at a quicker rate than many had expected. This is despite the fact that councils have created 241 new classrooms across the capital to meet the demand for pupils beginning at reception level this week.

In total, 6,000 more children applied for a reception place in London this year compared with 2011, bringing the total number for 2012 up to 100,000. Although the vast majority of this demand was met - including 10,000 late applications for places - it is estimated that 800 children in London still did not have a place for the new term, as of July.

London Councils said that many of these remaining children would now have been granted places in the last few weeks as a result of councils working with parents to identify schools and classrooms in time for the start of term.

However, these increasing difficulties highlight how demand for places at London schools is rising faster than expected.

Councillor Steve Reed, lead member for children and young people at London Councils, said: "Councils across the capital have worked extremely hard to try and ensure every child has a school place for the start of the new academic year.

"Today's figures confirm what councils across the capital have been saying for months. Many of our schools are full and we are running out of spaces where children can be taught."

He called on the government to continue its immediate and long-term investment in London schools to create more places and ensure primary and secondary access for every child in the capital.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801444294-ADNFCR
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