Soaring birth rate sparks schools 'crisis'
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Tuesday 20 March 2012
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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