The Local Government Association has highlighted the massive 20% shortfall in primary pupil places facing schools and Local Authorities in some areas. Although the government says it has more than doubled the funding for new school places, rising birth rates and funding uncertainty are confirmed by the LGA as contributing to the growing gap in provision.
The Department for Education independently approves free schools and academies. Councils are now warning that such new types of schools are outside of their strategic pupil place planning. With about 1000 of the 2277 local school planning districts needing further capacity by 2015-16, this is a problem requiring urgent attention.
Councils have always had to predict the future demand for places, but this is ever more difficult with large localised birth rate increases added to the lack of Local Authority input into whether academies and free schools are opening, or not.
This could be seen on some levels as a tussle between Local Authorities and the centralised Department for Education. Whatever the outcome, money needs to be spent both swiftly and in an accurately targeted way.
We think the best immediate solution open to schools is to install high quality modern modular buildings, which we tailor precisely to a school’s educational need. Portable Building Sales have a superb range of light and airy “Clearview” educational modular buildings. These are just the job for hard pressed schools and Local Authorities. They blend in with a range of building styles, and are being chosen by increasing numbers of schools to solve their accommodation problems at an affordable price.