Around 700 children in Brent will be without a school place
Shortfall will soar in the next three years
The borough’s primary schools face a shortfall of up to 700 places over the next three years, a report has revealed.
Nearly 200 children will not have a school place in time for the new academic year in September and the problem is likely to escalate as Brent Council struggles to cope with the increased demand.
This year alone, 50 youngsters had to be placed in “temporary” classrooms due to a lack of school places.
It is feared the shortages will begin to feed into secondary schools by 2014/15 – a problem made worse for Brent, which has already lost �84million in funding from the Building Schools for the Future programme which was scrapped by the coallition government last year.
Cllr Mary Arnold (Labour), lead member for children and families, said: “This is a London-wide problem. The government is not providing any extra capital for school expansion unless it is for a free school or an academy.
“Short term, we are expanding forms of entry at existing schools. Long term, we are still looking at options.”
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Since 2001, births in Brent have increased by 31 per cent. This, coupled with more people settling in the borough, has caused the school places crisis.
Nurseries are expanding to include reception class children and Preston Manor High School, a secondary school in Carlton Avenue East, Wembley, will be opening its classrooms to four-year-olds this September.
Building new schools is not an option because the council does not have enough money or land to build on.
On Tuesday, the Department for Education offered some hope by pledging a further �500million to help local authorities provide extra school places.
Sarah Teather (Liberal Democrat), MP for Brent Central and minister for children and families, said: “This money will go to councils, like Brent, which have seen a significant increase population over the last 10 years.”
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