Plea for funding to meet school place demands in Barking and Dagenham
The council has pressed the government for crucial funding to help with the demand for primary and secondary school places.
In a letter to the education secretary, Michael Gove, education cabinet Member, Cllr Rocky Gill, has asked for a share of the �500million funding allocated for areas with exceptional need.
With the fastest growing birth rate in London and a rapidly changing demographic, the council believes investment will help meet demand for additional places. Currently all secondary schools are oversubscribed by up to three times their intake.
Over the past three years, 8,000 new primary places have been created to cope with demand. This year, 19 new forms of entry were created to cope with the 550 additional applications for places in reception classes for September 2011.
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From September 2011 there are now 3,453 reception places, but with more children moving into the borough, figures for 2012 and 2013 indicate the need for another 500 reception places in the next two years.
Forecasts show that at least 16 forms of entry at Year 7 will be needed by September 2017 to accommodate the number of children currently in primary schools.
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Cllr Gill said: “We are asking the government for a share of �500million allocated to areas of exceptional need and Barking and Dagenham has exceptional needs. There is huge pressure in this borough which means the demand for school places will increase.
“Education standards in the borough are continuously improving – this year we have produced our best-ever GCSE and A-level results. Our young people deserve the best and we need to invest in their futures.”