On national offer day when parents find out which secondary school their child will be attending in September, new analysis published by the Labour Party reveals the strain on the system caused by the Government’s failed approach to planning for school places:
New analysis shows that 9.7 per cent of secondary schools are currently at or over capacity. Across the East of England 14.5 per-cent of schools are in the same boat.
Last year, 453 families did not get their preferred choice of secondary school in Cambridgeshire - a rise of 143 on the previous year. These figures could rise again this year amid mounting pressure on school places and poor planning from the Government.
Cambridge MP, Daniel Zeichner, said: “Many parents in Cambridge will be waiting to hear if their child has got a secondary school place today. Because of actions taken by the government it is getting harder and harder for local areas to ensure there are enough school places for local children. As the squeeze on school places grows, schools in Cambridgeshire are at or over capacity and families are missing out on their first choice of school. I’m calling on the government to untie the hands of local authorities and ensure local areas have the powers they need to adequately plan for school places and make sure local families don’t miss out.”
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Lucy Powell MP, said: “The Tories’ free market approach to providing new school places just isn’t working and is creating a crisis in school places. With such big rises in demand and one in six secondary schools already at or over capacity, the provision of new places needs proper planning and co-ordination. Yet this Government's fixation with Free Schools, which can be opened where there is no shortage of school places, has made it harder and harder to ensure there are enough good school places in every local area.
“It is time for Ministers to reinstate local input on planning for new places and remove the bureaucracy that councils face when it comes to opening and expanding schools. Families deserve a better approach to planning for school places, otherwise we will continue to see many more children crammed into over-large class sizes and learning in unsuitable spaces.”