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Meeting need for extra school places remains priority for Camden, Barnet and Haringey councils in face of ‘looming shortfall’ warning

PUBLISHED: 11:02 05 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:32 05 October 2017

Cllr Angela Mason.    Picture: Camden Council

Cllr Angela Mason. Picture: Camden Council

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Meeting the need for extra school places remains a key priority for Camden, Barnet and Haringey councils, in the face of warnings about a looming shortfall.

Cllr Richard Watts, in his capacity as the Local Government Association's education boss, has warned of a school places shortfall.Cllr Richard Watts, in his capacity as the Local Government Association's education boss, has warned of a school places shortfall.

London Councils – the cross-party organisation representing London’s 33 local authorities – is predicting that the capital’s schools face a £1billion funding shortfall over the next six years due to expected demand for nearly 64,000 additional places.

According to the Do the Maths report, released in September, Camden needs to make up a shortfall of 332 primary school places by 2023, but is one of only three boroughs predicted to have enough places at secondary level.

Cllr Angela Mason, responsible for children, schools and families, said: “Our community investment programme is Camden’s response to provide the much-needed missing schools places here in our borough. We’ve invested £82million into our schools with a further £35m to follow, creating 963 new school places, including 420 primary school places where they are most needed in the north-west of Camden.

“It’s so important we continue to develop and support Camden’s family of schools, which are renowned for delivering an excellent education and allowing our children to fulfil their potential.”

The report predicts a more precarious situation in Barnet, with 941 primary and 164 secondary places needed.

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, Barnet’s education chief, said: “As Barnet’s population has grown, so has the demand for school places and we have worked very hard to create thousands of additional places in recent years to ensure every child has a place.

“Much of the projected primary need will be in the Colindale and west Hendon regeneration areas and this will be met with the planned construction of two new primary schools.

“At secondary level we have been expanding existing secondary schools to keep pace with the number of children transitioning through the school system, and two free schools have opened in the borough. There are also proposals for a further three new secondary free schools in the borough which will meet the demand for places.”

According to the figures, Haringey is facing a shortfall of 429 places at primary school level and 81 secondary school places, but the council has responded by saying it will have a surplus of 300 primary places in six years time.

A council spokesman said: “We are already meeting with Heads of our primary schools to discuss how best to manage this to minimise any negative impact on school budgets, while also ensuring that we have the spaces and flexibility to meet any changes in demand.

“For Year 7 pupils, we have already worked with Haringey’s schools to increase the number of places, but estimate we will need the equivalent of another five or six forms across the borough to meet extra demand by 2023. We are already talking to schools about measures for tackling this.”

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