Newham pupil population boom means 6,000 new school places are needed
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The borough’s surging under-18 population means thousands will struggle to get a school place over the next five years, a major report has warned.
A shortfall of 6,246 school places across primary and secondary schools in Newham has been predicted between 2016/17 and 2021/22 as the pupil population swells by 37 per cent to 10,952 primary pupils and 6,571 secondary pupils.
The worrying figures, released today by the London Councils’ Do the Maths report, are part of a London-wide problem in which 47,430 new secondary places and 62,934 primary places are said to be needed over the same period.
Cllr Peter John OBE, the London Councils’ spokesman on children, has warned the “clock is ticking” for the capital’s secondary schools in particular.
He said: “The number of secondary school pupils in London is growing, which is a real challenge for boroughs because each new secondary school place costs around £6,000 more to create, on average, than a primary place.
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“Overall, London’s pupil population will have increased by a staggering 25 per cent over the course of this decade, yet London boroughs do not receive enough funding to fully cover the cost of building capacity in local schools.
“This is why we are calling on government to ensure that London gets its fair share of funding to be able to provide sufficient school places in the capital.”
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Insufficient funding will be available from central government leading to a funding gap of at least £1.8 billion, according to the London Councils.
The report states: “Lack of government funding means that councils have to use their own resources, often through borrowing or diverting other funds, to ensure there are sufficient school places to meet growing demand.”
A spokeswoman for Newham Council said the figures were being looked into.