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‘Hackney in strong position to meet shortfall of secondary school places’

PUBLISHED: 12:02 04 October 2017

Anntoinette Bramble

Anntoinette Bramble

Archant

Warnings over a shortage of school places are misplaced in Hackney, according to the borough’s education chief.

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, Hackney needs to make up a shortfall of 322 primary and 741 secondary school places by 2023.

But Hackney Council pledged to spend £40m meeting the “unprecedented” demand for school places across the borough back in 2015, and as we reach the midway point of its five-year-plan, town hall confidence is high that a crisis has been averted.

“These figures are useful in shining a light on the demands on schools and local authorities across London, but don’t reflect the up-to-date position in Hackney,” said Cllr Anntoinette Bramble.

“We’re on course to meet demand and have plans in place to meet future demand – for example, City of London Academy Shoreditch Park opened last month, and we continue to expand schools where necessary and practical.”

Along with the opening of the academy – which is in Haggerston Park until 2019 – the council says the shortfall at secondary school level will be met with the expansion of Cardinal Pole Catholic School’s sixth form and 150 extra places at The Urswick School from 2019.

Do the Maths is published by London Councils every year and models the expected shortfall in school places in London using pupil population forecasts and school capacity data.

It also examines patterns of local authority spend on new school places, including the levels of funding provided by central government.

Cllr Richard Watts, Local Government Association’s education boss, said: “The school places squeeze is now about to hit secondary schools. More and more families will face growing uncertainty when trying to secure their child’s secondary school without action.

“Councils are working with one hand behind their backs to help as many pupils as possible receive a place at their first choice school.”

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