More than 600 children in Brent are without a primary school place
PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 November 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
More than 600 children in Brent have been unable to secure places at primary schools in the borough, latest figures show.
According to data obtained by Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North, 614 children have been rejected in Brent due to a lack of places.
Mr Gardiner has blamed the figures, issued by the Department for Education (DfE), on the government, claiming they are caused by the removal of local authority powers to plan and review school places.
He added: “This is a disaster for the children and their families who are forced to go outside the borough to find a school place.
“Children spend more time travelling to school at a greater cost,” he said.
Cllr Michael Pavey, Brent Council’s lead member for children and families, agreed with Mr Gardiner.
He said: “Brent Council is proactively expanding local schools and is opening up additional spaces such as the new building at Fryent Primary School, but the coalition government has tied our hands from taking the action required to fully address this crucial issue.”
“The government needs to give us the power to properly plan for the delivery of new school places and open new schools now.
Hoover, a DfE spokesman refuted the claims, saying: “It is Brent Council’s responsibility to ensure all pupils have a school place and we are working closely with them to make sure this happens.
“That is why we have allocated Brent a total of £110million since 2011 to provide additional school places – compared to only £33.8million by the previous government in the same timeframe.”
He added that the DfE have improved the accessibility primary education, including a £1.6 billion cash injection to be spent by 2015 on creating new school places, and an extra 20,000 primary school places offered by almost half of the 102 free schools in the capital.
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