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Councils across the country are preparing to take emergency action after the National Audit Office warned in March that 240,000 extra primary school places would be needed for the coming year.
Temporary classrooms and converted buildings are the mooted solution so far, with sites such as churches, police stations, council offices and even rows of shops being earmarked for refurbishment as schools to help with the shortage of academic accommodation.
It has been predicted that parents across the country face the prospect of their child missing out on their first choice school, due to the lack of places; an estimated one in seven pupils will fail to gain their primary option – that’s 85,000 nationally, with the numbers set to rise to a fifth of all students in London.
Cllr Peter John, Labour leader of Southwark Council and spokesman on education for the 33 London boroughs, said: “London’s local authorities are committed to providing enough school places for every child in the capital but this is becoming an incredibly challenging task.
“Boroughs have worked tirelessly to try and plug the shortfall in places but class sizes cannot keep expanding forever – we need enough money for permanent school places for all of London’s children.”
School furniture fits out police station
But the problem doesn’t just stop in the capital. School furniture has been moved into a police station in Bristol, allowing an extra 30 places and there are plans afoot to convert old council buildings into a brand new school housing 420 pupils.
In Whiteley, Hampshire, they are taking things a step further by erecting an entirely temporary school made up of a series of mobile classrooms in an effort to create the necessary space.
The Department for Education (DfE) has promised £5billion is going to be spent on creating new school spaces by the year 2015.
A DfE spokesperson said: “By September, we expect 190,000 extra places will have been created, with many more still to come. We are confident that our huge investment will mean councils are able to deal with the extra demand for primary school places through building new schools and expanding existing good ones. We are working with local authorities to ensure funding is targeted where it is most needed.”
David Bailey Furniture Systems is committed to ensuring children are educated in the correct environment, such as this classroom fitted with our education furniture.
As a leading manufacturer and installer of fitted school furniture systems, specified for all types of classroom refurbishment and new build projects, we are well aware of the logistics involved in creating the extra teaching capacity that is sorely needed up and down the nation.
We’ll be keeping a keen eye as this situation develops and we wish everyone the best of luck in getting their preferred placement.
For more information, visit the Department for Education website.