London needs thousands more school places

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The Independent Online
A dramatic increase in school places, equivalent to at least 16 new secondary schools, will have to be provided in London within seven years to cope with a growing pupil population, a study found.

A report by the Government's Funding Agency for Schools will forecast a shortfall of up to 22,500 places in the capital by 2003 if no expansion takes place, The Independent has learnt. Meeting demand will cost between pounds 61m and pounds 146m, depending on how much leeway is left to accommodate parents' preferences for schools.

The study provides new evidence that parental choice, the corner-stone of government education policy, is in danger of collapse.

The bleak picture for the capital was underlined by Labour Party figures showing that nearly one-third of all appeals by parents denied the school of their choice were in London. Lucy Ward

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