London will need to create 113,000 new school places over the next five years, requiring investment of at least £1.5 billion as the capital’s school population rises by 12 per cent, according to a new report published today.
‘Do The Maths 2015’ from London Councils, which represents the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, reveals that the Department for Education is not funding London boroughs sufficiently to meet the cost of providing new school places between 2015 and 2020.
Over the next five years London is set to experience pressure on both primary and secondary school places, with secondary in greatest need by the end of this parliament. London faces a shortfall of 78,275 primary school places and 34,835 secondary school places short by 2020.
With many London primary schools already expanded and secondary school expansions costing as much as 50 per cent more than primary, the straightforward options for increasing school capacity are disappearing.
Cllr Peter John OBE, London Councils’ Executive Member for Children, Skills and Employment, said:
“At a time when budgets are under pressure across the board, boroughs cannot continue to subsidise the cost of school places in London. Time is running out for the Government to fully support councils’ efforts to provide primary and secondary school places in the capital over the next five years.
“Councils in London have worked exceptionally hard with school heads and governors since 2010. But without sufficient resources it will be extremely difficult to manage complex primary expansions and meet the rising demand for secondary school places in the future.”
London Councils is calling on the Department for Education to recognise the unprecedented challenge of creating almost 35,000 new secondary places in the capital and the associated site acquisition and building costs.
It is also asking for Government to fully fund the expansion of school places in London by allocating at least an additional £1.5 billion of Basic Need funding for the two-year period 2018/19 to 2019/20.
A commitment to increasing the funding offered per school place to ensure this matches the actual costs, as well as adequate funding to secure places in special schools and provision in mainstream schools for children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND), are the other main asks in the report.