Half of all councils England may be unable to meet demand for new secondary school places within five years, town hall chiefs have warned today.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said 134,000 children face missing out on a secondary school place by 2023/24 unless new places are created.
It warns that councils have very limited ability to fulfil their statutory obligations to provide school places now that two-thirds of secondary schools are academies.
It is calling for councils to be given the power to open new maintained schools, and direct free schools and academies to expand.
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. As a starting point they should 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 allowed to open schools themselves.'