December 5 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
Local authorities in London are spending £9,000 for each extra pupil above schools’ capacity in order to create new places across the capital, figures reveal.
As pupils start the new school year this week, analysis by London Councils, which represents 33 boroughs, says it is picking up the shortfall from a lack of funding from government.
Its research identifies while councils have strategies in place to create places, the £9,000 cost per pupil they are spending subsidising insufficient school places funding is placing unprecedented pressure on councils’ already squeezed budgets.
A spokesman for London Councils said: “The scale of the school places crisis in London is vast, the analysis notes, with 83,470 school places needed to be created between 2014 and 2017, equivalent to 151 full size football pitches.
“Between 2010 and September 2013, boroughs created more than 46,039 school places, equivalent to 1,535 classrooms, but more funding is needed to continue this expansion.”
Councillor Peter John, London Councils’ Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Councils are pulling out all the stops to create places, but London’s rising population, particularly at school age, means they are running to stand still. Frankly, this is just not sustainable.”
While other regions are also facing pressures to create additional places, the problem is most acute in London.
The analysis notes that London accounts for 42 per cent of the future school place need. However, the government has only provided London with 36 per cent of the funding shortfall, leaving local authorities to pick up the shortfall in order to provide each child a school place.
The councils spokesman said: “Although the funding which the Department for Education made available this year is welcome, it is far from sufficient to meet the growing need caused by a rising birth rate, fewer pupils attending private schools and changes in where parents can afford to live due to the rising cost of housing in London.”