William Eichler 27 August 2019

Council chiefs warn of ‘looming’ school places crisis

Council chiefs warn of ‘looming’ school places crisis image

Local authority leaders have called on the Government to give them more powers to open maintained schools to help avoid an impending secondary school place shortage.

Last year, councils created 37,000 new secondary school places by working with the schools and, in some cases, commissioning places in academies and free schools.

However, an analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that 15 councils will face a secondary school place shortfall in 2020/21 unless more secondary school places are created.

This figure, according to the LGA, will rise to 27 in 2021/22, 49 in 2022/23 and 64 in 2023/24. By 2024/25, a total of 71 councils (48%) face not being able to meet demand for 123,195 places.

To address what they characterise as a ‘looming crisis’, the LGA has urged Whitehall to give councils the power to open new maintained schools and to direct free schools and academies to expand.

‘Despite all odds, councils have been able to provide desperately-needed places for parents looking to secure their child’s place at secondary school in the past year,’ said Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.

‘No family should face uncertainty over their child’s school place. But our secondary school places crisis is now just one year away and this will be the reality for thousands of families without action.

‘Councils need to be allowed to open new maintained schools and direct academies to expand. It makes no sense for councils to be given the responsibility to plan for school places but then not be allowed to open schools themselves.

‘The Government needs to work closely with councils to meet the challenges currently facing the education system.’

A Department for Education spokesperson said: 'We are determined to create more choice for parents when it comes to their children’s education and we have created around 920,000 school places since 2010, and are on track to see that number rise to a million by 2020.

'Standards have also risen, with 85% of schools now rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, compared to 68% in 2010.

'Local authorities have the power to open new schools, and to create new school places, and must ensure there are enough school places to meet needs locally.'

Declaring a climate change emergency image

Declaring a climate change emergency

Local authorities can play a key role in tackling climate change – and there is plenty for them to do. Never before has thinking globally and acting locally been more important, says Mark Whitehead.
Open letter to Boris Johnson image

Open letter to Boris Johnson

The MJ's editor Heather Jameson asks the new PM a simple question: do you want to fund local government or do you want to scale back services to the basics?
Highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Technician

Derbyshire County Council
£22,628 - £24,455 per annum
Two posts have become available in the Council's Highways Development Control Section Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Business Systems Support Officer

South Holland District Council
£21,166 - £24,799
Starting salary
Recuriter: South Holland District Council

Director - Major Projects (Town Hall Campus)

Waltham Forest Council
Up to c£110,000 per annum
As Director of Major Projects (Town Hall Campus) you will lead the delivery of our portfolio of property and capital funded projects... Waltham Forest, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Waltham Forest Council

Property Asset Services Manager

South Holland District Council
£41,675 to SCP 51 - £46,725
Contract type
Recuriter: South Holland District Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine