Barking headteacher on TV programme about growing population

A headteacher has spoken on a TV documentary about the challenges facing an oversubscribed primary school in Barking.

Bob Garton from Gascoigne Primary was interviewed for last night’s edition of Tonight on ITV, which looked at the effects of a rising population on Britain.

With 1,100 pupils the Gascoigne Estate school is, according to Tonight, the largest in England and will soon take on another 100 children.

Mr Garton told presenter Fiona Foster that playing fields had been removed to create more classroom space and that youngsters took breaks at different times to avoid overcrowding in the play grounds.

He also explained that staff had to work “additionally hard to settle children in” and to make sure they progressed in class.

More than 8,000 school places have been created in Barking and Dagenham in the last four years to deal with one of London’s fasted growing birth rates and many more will be needed as the population continues to rise.

Barking and Dagenham Council deputy leader, Cllr Rocky Gill, also featured on the programme. He spoke about the possibility of using retail and commercial space as classrooms.

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The episode can be watched on ITV Player by clicking on this link: