Investment secures school places for Newham children

A multi-million pound expansion programme meant every Newham child was allocated a school place this year.

The council avoided a shortfall in capacity by creating the equivalent of 18 420-place primary schools between 2008 and 2015.

Demand is expected to grow in the years to come, leading to fears of a shortage of places.

A total of 9,298 applications were made for primary and secondary school places in Newham for September 2012.

More than 750 of these were late, but were still met.

A Newham Council spokesman said: “This is down to a lot of hard work by our schools and headteachers.

“We received �56 million this financial year from the government, which has enabled us to embark on a major and much-needed expansion programme.

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“Other schools expansion projects that will be funded from the basic need funding are in the procurement stage.

“Construction works are planned to take place on the next phase of schemes from Spring 2013.”

Completed schemes include expanding Dersingham and Sheringham Schools in Manor Park to add 620 permanent places last year.

An extra 1050 places were created when Brampton and Vicarage primary schools and Langdon School in East Ham were redeveloped.

Curwen Primary School in Plaistow, and Avenue Primary School in Manor Park were also expanded to each provide an additional 210 places. Gallions Primary School in Beckton will get the same treatment.

The London Councils group believes there will be a capital-wide shortage of about 90,000 places by 2015/2016.

Member, Cllr Steve Reed, said the Government needs to dig deep to support local authorities.

“Councils across the capital have worked extremely hard to try and ensure every child has a school place for the start of the new academic year.

“The government needs to continue investing in long-term investment of the capital’s schools to create more places and ensure every child has access to primary and secondary school education.”