Soaring birth rate sparks schools 'crisis'

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The Independent Online

The rising birth rate has left England needing about 2,000 new primary schools within the next three years, figures suggest.

Department for Education statistics show the primary school population is expected to rise by 454, 571 by 2015 – the equivalent of 2,030 extra schools based on the current average intake of new 224 pupils per school.

Stephen Twigg, Labour's education spokesman, urged the Chancellor, George Osborne, to take immediate action to tackle what he termed an "urgent crisis" in primary school provision.

The Government has promised £1.2 bn for new school buildings.

The most acute crisis is in London where an additional 100,000 places are needed. Lancashire is short of 14,000 places and Birmingham, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Leeds all need at least 11,000 extra places.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, accused Labour of "hypocrisy", saying it had ignored warnings of a baby boom while it had been in office and has "splurged billions on extravagant and expensive secondary school projects instead".

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