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NAHT comment on the announcement of primary school places

Today, Monday 16 April, parents discover whether they have got their first choice of primary school for their child.


Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, which represents the majority of primary school leaders in England and Wales, said:


“This can be an anxious time for families. Choosing the right primary school and securing a place there can feel like a battle for parents.


“The problem is that local authorities are responsible for ensuring sufficient school places, but the powers and resources necessary for them to do so have been removed.


“In an increasingly fragmented school system we lack a co-ordinated approach to place planning. Instead it’s haphazard; decisions are being made in isolation and new schools and new school places are not always being commissioned in the areas they are most needed.


“The government’s own figures show that an extra 654,000 school places will be needed in England by 2026, to meet the nine per cent rise in pupil population. There is a desperate need for long-term planning that spans all sectors.


“Until the government creates a national strategy to guarantee there are enough school places for every child in England, the annual anxious wait for families will continue.”


James Bowen, director of NAHT Edge, said:


“Thousands of children learn which primary school they are to attend today, and teachers will begin to prepare for a new intake. Their hope will be to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and wide range of learning experiences, to give children the best education possible and prepare them for the wider world.


“Unfortunately, they will be all too aware that an over-emphasis by the government and Ofsted on test results has led to a narrowing of the curriculum in many schools. Too much statutory testing distorts teaching, and over-prioritises just a few subjects. No one would argue that children should not have a good grasp of literacy and numeracy, but this is not the only education that counts.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363
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