Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 13:11 UK

Primary place shortfalls to rise

Generic primary school shot
The recession has been identified as a causal factor

Temporary classrooms are being built and class sizes increased to cope with shortfalls in primary school places across London, a report has said.

There is a 2,250 shortfall in primary school places for the current financial year, the London Councils report said.

It is forecast that the shortfall will rise to 5,000 next year and 18,300 by 2014. The report has called for an immediate £260m cash injection.

Extra staff have been drafted in to maintain standards, the report added.

The report said that overall £740m was needed to deal with the projected shortfall. It said the £260m figure was needed to ensure councils could deal with next year's shortfall.

It said 25 of the capital's 33 authorities were experiencing capacity problems or expect to within two to three years.

We urgently need the government to bring forward emergency funding
James Kempton, London Councils

Additional staffing resources have been committed by boroughs which have expanded class sizes to ensure standards are not affected, the report added.

However, researchers warned that setting up temporary classrooms wasted investment.

The main factor which has caused this extra pressure is London's high birth rate, which has recorded the fastest growth rate of any region in England.

It has risen by 20.5% since 2001-02.

Other factors are the recession, which is causing more parents to shun the independent sector, and more parents requesting places at their local primary school.

London Councils' executive member for children and young people, Councillor James Kempton, said: "Temporary classrooms and expanded classes are simply not good enough, but London's boroughs are being forced into a position where these are our only option to provide places for the capital's five-year-olds.

"We urgently need the government to bring forward emergency funding to cover the current and expected demand for places, as well as change the way we are funded to prevent a situation like this occurring again.

London's children deserve better."


London boroughs face increased demands for state primary school places

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