School leaders’ union NAHT is warning that more must be done to ensure every child has a school place following a significant increase in pupil numbers.
As parents receive confirmation this week of their child’s primary school place, NAHT is warning that despite recent efforts by government and local authorities to address the expected squeeze on school places, challenges still remain. And the union fears that the issue may be even harder to tackle when pupils reach secondary level.
NAHT says it is supporting calls by the LGA (Local Government Association) to give successful local authorities the freedom to bid to open new community secondary schools to meet extra demand for places. Currently, the government states that any new school that opens should be an academy or free school.
General Secretary Russell Hobby, general secretary of NAHT said: “NAHT supports many of the recommendations in the LGA’s report from March this year on tackling the pressure on school places.
“In particular, we need a way of setting up new community schools as well as academies and free schools. A fully open competition, with independent adjudication, would be welcome.
“We also back the LGA’s suggestion that education budgets should cover a five-year period to allow local authorities to plan for places well in advance with schools and potential academy sponsors.
“We need a joined up approach to working out where the gaps in provision will be. Free schools, academy sponsors and local authorities need to work together in an organised way so that we can ensure every pupil is accommodated. It cannot be left to communities working in isolation to guess what might be required at the eleventh hour.”
Link to the LGA report The council role in school place planning: http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/publications/-/journal_content/56/10180/6014176/PUBLICATION
Page Published: 16/04/2014