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News - 14 March 2014

Shortage of Secondary School places.

The Local Government Association has analysed official government figures which suggest that 49 out of 152 councils will have more pupils than secondary places by 2019-20, with 80,716 new secondary places required by then.

However, The Department for Education says it had provided local authorities with the funding they need for new places. "It is now up to them to spend this money efficiently and effectively" a spokesperson said.

But the LGA said the ongoing crunch in primary schools means that despite the creation of nearly 90,000 places in the past academic year, and the government committing £2.35bn in places funding for up to 2017, an extra 130,000 are needed before September 2017.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“Some Councils are already taking their own action such as Reading who have borrowed £35m privately to fund the expansion of 13 of its primary schools, and Essex County Council who have topped up its government grants with £39m from its own resources.”

Lavinia continues:
“There is a presumption that new schools will be free schools or academies, which are outside local authorities' sphere of influence. It means local authorities do not have as much control over the creation of new schools and places as they once did. Although they can invite bids for free schools and academies in their areas.”

Councils are calling for information on school building funding in five-year cycles and for it to be in one funding pot.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We are giving local authorities £5bn to spend on new school places over this parliament - double the amount allocated by the previous government over an equivalent period.

Natalie Evans, director of the New Schools Network, which supports the creation of free schools, said: "Over two-thirds of free schools are being set up in areas where there is a shortage of school places and local authorities themselves are able to invite groups to come forward to set up new schools where that shortfall is particularly acute.

Kevin Brennan, shadow schools minister, said: "David Cameron's government has displayed a shocking degree of complacency in responding to the need for new school places."

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Local councils find themselves having responsibility for providing places but with insufficient powers to plan, commission or build schools."

If you need any help and advice with Academy or Free Schools, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.


ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

Brilliant with numbers   
Great with people  
Clear and precise with advice
Timely and cost effective 
In touch with issues that face our clients
Mindful of our client’s long term strategic goals

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