Barking and Dagenham receives almost �30 million to tackle demand for primary school places

Primary schools in Barking and Dagenham are set to reap the benefit of almost �30 million in government funding, it has been announced.

The council has welcomed the cash boost but said the funds are not enough to meet the borough’s unprecedented demand for places.

Barking and Dagenham will receive �29,762,837 of �600 million of primary school funding which is being distributed to local authorities across the country.

The borough, together with Waltham Forest, has been allocated the second highest amount of money, with Brent Council topping the list.

Over the last three years Barking and Dagenham has created almost 8,000 new primary places due to rapidly changing demography alongside one of the fastest rising birth rates in the country, at 58 per cent between 2000 and 2010.

Helen Jenner, corporate director of children’s services at the council, said she was pleased the Department of Education (DfE) had recognised the “desperate need” for capital funding for primary schools, but added:

“This will not meet our critical needs considering the loss of the �270m BSF money and other capital funding streams.

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“The London wide shortage of primary school places is at its most pressured in Barking and Dagenham. The council faces unprecedented demand for school places and this is likely to get worse. As an authority, we are committed to doing everything possible to make sure that every child has a school place.

“We will continue to examine plans to expand existing primary and secondary schools, build more schools and look at how to make effective use of this money.”

Barking and Dagenham Council created 19 new forms of entry to reception class for September 2011, having received 550 more applications this year than the previous year. From September 2011 the borough had just over 3,450 reception places. Figures for 2012 and 2013 indicate another 500 new reception places will be needed in the next two years.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “Funding is targeted at areas where the pressures of soaring birth rates are being felt the most and allocations are based on information that local authorities provide.

“We plan to announce future funding allocations for school places at the end of this year.”

Government figures show more than 450,000 extra primary pupils will need places in England by 2015.