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New report highlights need for additional school places in many parts of UK

12/04/2017 Kelly

New report highlights need for additional school places in many parts of UK

Monday, April 10, 2017

A new report has indicated that some parts of the country will need to take decisive action to create additional school places over the next 18 months.

The Department for Education has updated its scorecards for local authority school places, which show how councils are progressing in their efforts to create extra school capacity, as well as detailing how many additional places are needed to meet targets set for 2018-19.

Analysis of the data from Schools Week has indicated that some areas are performing better than others, with some councils currently on pace to meet their goals, while others still need to boost capacity by thousands.

In Leicester, for example, 2,260 extra secondary places will be needed by 2018-19, which is equivalent to almost 12 per cent of the area's total capacity as of May last year. This was attributed to a rising birth rate, recent migration trends and the cancellation of plans for a new secondary school in the city centre a few years ago.

Efforts are already being made to address the problem, with a £45 million expansion programme launching this autumn to create 2,500 further places, some of which will be available by September next year.

Sarah Russell, Leicester's assistant city mayor for children, young people and schools, said: "We know that there are applications for free schools to open in the city. This will help to ease the pressure, but our forecasting shows we will still need more. Building work takes time, which is why we're pressing ahead with these plans now."

Other areas that need to take similar action include North Somerset, which needs to increase its capacity at primary level by 920 places, while in Birmingham a large number of new places are being created in existing secondaries in order to address capacity shortfalls.

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