Barking and Dagenham may build schools in parks to tackle primary place crisis

Education chiefs are considering building schools in parks to deal with the acute shortage of places in Barking and Dagenham.

Barking and Dagenham Council unveiled the drastic proposal yesterday after figures it released showed that schools were running at full capacity and two thirds of primaries had undergone expansions.

Statistics collated by London Councils also show Barking and Dagenham has had the biggest increase in the number of pupils in the capital between 2009 and 2012.

Education cabinet member, Cllr Rocky Gill, said: “We have a statutory obligation to provide a school place for every child and we will continue to think outside the box to ensure we deliver on that promise.

“We have exhausted spaces within our schools and will continue to review the possibility of parks and open spaces, retail properties and even split shifts education.”

The Post reported last year the Labour council could teach pupils in “split shifts”, with a group of children going to school in the morning and another in the afternoon.

The council said births had soared by more than half - 57 per cent - in the last decade and the number of pupils by 11 per cent between 2009 and 2012.

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A council spokesman indicated the surge may have been fuelled by population movement from inner London and regeneration opportunities including the 1,000-home development in Barking called Academy Central.