Department for Education data suggests that at least 185,710 primary places are needed in England by 2017/18. New research from the Local Government Association puts the cost of creating all the necessary places over the next decade at £12 billion.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “The challenge of funding so many new pupil places at a time of austerity is considerable. It requires careful planning and astute use of resources. We endorse LGA’s call for some strategic thinking on this issue.
“Since 2011, the powers of local authorities in planning school places have been significantly reduced without the introduction of alternative measures of co-ordination.
“The most efficient means of meeting demand is to expand existing good schools in a carefully planned way. Building lots of very small schools without an eye to where they are needed most is at best inefficient. School leaders will always welcome the option to grow their schools but last minute demands help no one: there is no excuse for not looking ahead when the data is readily available.
"NAHT believes that some form of unified local planning is necessary to co-ordinate the actions of different providers while enabling a decent level of innovation where it is most needed."
You can read the NAHT manifesto for education in full here: http://bit.ly/1BLx3cZ .
Local authorities with middle schools (18 LAs) have been excluded from this data; DfE deem middle schools to be primary or secondary, meaning the number of primary and secondary places in these areas can be over or under estimated. Including these areas, the number is likely to be higher.
Page Published: 13/01/2015