Secondary school places under strain.

‘More than half a million families in England find out on Tuesday about their children's secondary school places for this autumn.

But National Offer Day comes against a backdrop of rising pressure on places.

The head of the Mumsnet website warned the admissions systems was becoming "seriously creaky" in some areas.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the government was "investing billions of pounds creating new schools and new school places".

The admissions process will see about 554,000 11 year olds across England finding out whether they will be going to one of their preferred school places.

The population bulge that has seen primary schools having to expand has now reached secondary school - and there will be concerns that the rising pupil numbers will mean even tighter competition for the most sought-after schools.’ - BBC

‘One in six pupils nationally are expected to miss out on their first choice, while in some parts of London around half are likely to be disappointed.

This year, the most oversubscribed council appears to be Hounslow in West London, which has received 5,151 applications for only 2,907 places – a shortfall of 2,244.

In Buckinghamshire the shortfall is 1,983, while Trafford it is 1,213, in Kent it is 1,025, in Haringey, London, it is 992 and in Stockport it is 688.’ – Mail Online

‘Legally, councils must provide a school place for all children in their area, but the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned this could become "undeliverable" without more power to open new secondary schools and expand existing ones.

Since the passing of the 2011 Education Act, all new state schools must be free schools or academies, both of which are funded directly by the Department for Education and independent of local authority control.’ – The Week

‘Lucy Powell, Labour’s shadow Education Secretary blamed the Government for creating a "crisis in school places" and called on Ministers to allow councils to open new schools in areas of need.

She said: "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." - Telegraph

‘According to Labour, the number of titan secondary schools with a pupil population in excess of 1,600 pupils is likely to increase by more than a third over this parliament and the number with more than 2,000 could increase by two-thirds.’ - Guardian

‘The National Union of Teachers said it was "quite clear" that local authorities needed the authority and funding to open new schools.

"Failure to do this will result in yet more chaos, children being taught in Portakabins, larger class sizes and many having to take places in schools away from their neighbourhood," said general secretary Christine Blower.’ - BBC

The Telegraph has published an advice column for families who wish to appeal the place they are offered:

‘Make sure that you submit a well written and well researched case. Establish the reasons why you want your child to attend a particular school and back this up with written evidence.

For example, if there are strong medical or social reasons to attend a particular school, make sure that you obtain written support from a doctor, consultant or similar professional.’

 

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