‘Emergency’ in secondary school places

Unless new places are created, nearly 134,000 children will miss out on a secondary school place by 2023/24 as a result of the surge in primary school pupils.

The LGA says the country faces a secondary school places “emergency” unless government gives councils the powers to open schools or direct academies to expand.

School pupil smiles for the cameraIts analysis reveals that, unless more secondary school places are created, 13 councils will face a secondary school place shortfall in 2019/20; this will rise to 25 councils in 2020/21, 46 in 2021/22 and 54  in 2022/23.

By 2023/24, 71 councils (52 per cent)  face not being able to meet demand for 133,926 places.

With two-thirds of secondary schools now academies, councils have a very limited ability to fulfil their statutory obligation to provide school places.

The LGA is calling on government to give councils the power to open new maintained schools, where that is the local preference, and hand back the responsibility for making decisions about opening new schools.

It should also give councils the same powers to direct free schools and academies to expand that they currently hold for maintained schools.

Cllr 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. 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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