Severe school shortage of places-what we think?

(109 Posts)
mam29 Tue 03-Sep-13 20:11:54

www.channel4.com/news/education-schools-baby-boom-gove-classrooms-teachers

its all over other news guardian, bbc too .

no surprise?

dident think could get any worse?

media scare mongoring or problem for many.

dd2 starts 2014 and dd3 2015.

was already not feeling confient now a bit less so.

BlackMogul Tue 03-Sep-13 20:38:37

I would go and visit local schools and see what the situation is. Some areas will not have problems at all. I heard Gove on radio 5 today say it was all Labour's fault which makes me wonder what the Government Has been doing for the last 3 years. Predicting school numbers can be notoriously difficult, but thinking the creation of free schools in the wrong places will help is clutching at straws. Education Authorities are so short of money now, it is difficult to see how they can carry out their tasks effectively, and this is just another crack that is appearing.

christinarossetti Tue 03-Sep-13 22:35:43

There will be large disparities between areas so, depending on where you live, it could be a dream or a nightmare.

Governments have known about the drastically increasing need for school places for years now, as the birth rate has been rising. Rather than increase local capacity to enable LAs to plan and build better, LAs have had their funding hammered and there are no requirements that free schools actually meet a local shortage of places.

It's is and will continue to be a serious problem for many that will in no way be resolved by Gove's supply side revolution.

TeamEdward Tue 03-Sep-13 22:46:27

I'm in semi-rural Sussex.
Property prices have a lot to do with the shortage of school places here, IMO.
The village schools have school spaces, but young families cannot afford to live in the villages. So the town schools are overcrowded and places are very hard to come by. DS2 has been waiting for a school place for over a year.

And today I heard that another 220 houses are planned to be built on local playing fields. That's great news for affordable housing, but there is no new infrastructure planned to support this.

alwaysonmymind Tue 03-Sep-13 22:52:13

It's already an issue in areas of Manchester. Younger siblings can't be placed in the same school as older children and schools being asked to up intakes in Reception. I can see how it is hard to predict exact numbers due to population movement and immigration but to this extent? Someone has messed up somewhere

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 03-Sep-13 22:53:05

Labour's fault - migration and resultant baby bulge. Plus they knew it was coming and didn't prepare.

SuffolkNWhat Tue 03-Sep-13 23:33:40

And yet this government are shutting a load of schools in Suffolk.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 03-Sep-13 23:41:52

Middle schools, going to primary and secondary instead.

Wondering when they will realise that all the children who have found it hard to get places in primary schools over the past few years are growing up and will eventually need secondary school places too. Hard enough to get a place at the moment, will be worse in five years time.

Crumbledwalnuts Tue 03-Sep-13 23:47:48

The Tories have allocated 5 billion. At least they're planning for it. It didn't even occur to the last government.

prh47bridge Wed 04-Sep-13 00:17:28

As Crumbledwalnuts says the schools in Suffolk are being reorganised from a three tier system to a two tier system. The reorganisation is by Suffolk County Council, not the government.

From 2010-15 £5 billion is being spent creating new school places. The figure for 2005-10 was only half of that. I don't know if £5 billion is enough without spending more time analysing the figures in detail.

According to DfE figures 75% of new mainstream free schools are opening in areas where there is a particular need for additional places. Of course, that means 25% of them are in area where there is little or no need for additional places.

Of course the Conservatives will blame Labour and vice versa. In my view a lot of the blame attaches to local authorities. Some planned properly and made sure they had plenty of places, some buried their heads in the sand and hoped the problem would just go away. Most, of course, were somewhere in between. And the political colour of the LA seems to have little or no bearing on how effectively they planned.

mam29 Wed 04-Sep-13 02:11:44

I just wondered if this was new news or recycled news.

anyone know if they have complete breakdown of each council thats short.

I I asked my lea would they admit it?

I do know in bristol case its been series of rubbish councils, increased in housing and migration as good place for jobs lots of welsh people and lots of people I know are not native bristolians either went uni stayed here or moved here for work.

Definatly right about seniors and dont see any new build seniors here yes few changed to acdemies but dont think that would offer huge increased intake.

lots super schools appering 1 primary had extra 12 classrooms built so capcity nearly 900 kids.

I know lots of split siblings

I cant see how free schools will help

bristol only has 2free schools and big city.

it relies on people having get up and go to do it.

my lea seems to have goven go ahead sor silly amount of new houses which reckon could create a strain as already taking slack from neighbouring county.

noramum Wed 04-Sep-13 07:15:14

I am officially a migrant but please don't see us all as school place snatcher. I worked full time, paid high taxes, for 6 years before I fell pregnant and continued working since. My taxes are equally part of all fiuding like the British are.

DD was lucky, she started in 2011 and I have seen the issue in our little Infant school.

I think it is very bad planning. In our area new housing areas were build without any thought that in 3 bedroom terraces people with children may move into. There was no single primary school built since we moved here 12 years ago.

I dread what will happen with secondary schools as the Conservaties closed down all programmes to rebuild old ones.

The Daily Mail had a hair rising article this morning about prospects of part-time school with a 8-6day for 3 days a week. That's more than most adult work. I just hope it is scaring and not based on real facts.

The government has to release urgent more money into the
Education system. What good is it to built extra classes when you loose all the outside space?

This Spring when the applications for the 2013 start came out it was clear that this year London was a nightmare, so doing the talk 5 month later doesn't help anybody, it just shows that the last couple of months nothing was done or thought about it.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 04-Sep-13 07:25:06

Its not just going to be primary places is it?

This problem will follow these cohorts of kids through their early lives - secondary school, college/uni, jobs. There's going to be a lot of competition.

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 07:56:08

It isn't scaremongering but it is not new news either.

* In many areas, there has been house building here but no new schools.

* There has been a baby boom

* There has been record numbers of younger immigrants who have new families.

* Less people are able to afford private schooling.

* Families are forced to stay living in the tiny flats creating dense populations and tiny catchment areas close to schools.

* People used to move after having a baby but now they don't so now the catchments are tinier than ever.

* There's less people moving away generally as nobody can afford to move.

* Bulge classes year after year mean dozens of extra siblings eligible for admission priority and fewer children getting places just on proximity.

It isn't just this government. It is previous governments and councils too. You can read council notes going back 5 years plus predicting this would happen in our area and yet no action was taken. Every year is a sticking plaster approach of bulge classes, temporary classrooms and children waiting months for any allocation.

Until crisis point is reached (hundreds as opposed to dozens of children with no school to go to in each part of the borough) nobody has any stomach for diverting vast sums of cash to schools that only benefit a small proportion of voters locals. Nothing is being done to increase secondary places either despite a similar crisis expected soon. Again, there is no appetite to sort that out now that the primary crisis looms every year.

catham Wed 04-Sep-13 07:59:20

The Tories have allocated 5 billion. At least they're planning for it. It didn't even occur to the last government.

hold on the labour goverment were going to re-build and re-modernise tons of schools yet the tories halted the project confused

which is probably where the 5 billion is from hmm

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 04-Sep-13 07:59:31

It's the inevitable result of free movement in a bloc where there are disparities in wealth and state (ie free) provision. There will be an osmosis effect to the wealthier countries and those with better state (free) provision until some kind of balance is reached and everywhere is as crappy as everywhere else. If that balance is never reached, the osmosis effect continues.

This government & previous government knew this was to happen but stuck their heads in the sand.
4 years ago these babies would have been born, the gov chose to ignore the populations stats and now we have a problem.
I seriously do not understand where the gov thought all these children would disappear too....

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 08:33:25

The first real increase in the birth rate boom started in 2008 (although it had been climbing before that) but nobody reacted then or since as quickly as they needed to.

Councils are in denial - they say families don't live in flats, they say at least 10% of people will go private, they say at least 10% more will move out of cities once their children reach 5 and therefore there's no point providing places for 100% of children born in an area. None of these things are true anymore and on top of that the birth rate has continued to climb and has not levelled off as predicted.

Neither government has been great in dealing with this and some councils have been awful. In our area for example, it is all about housing.
The council continually grants permission for new devlopments to be squeezed in.
There's everything from garden grabbing for 2 or 3 extra houses per road to building hundreds of houses on smallish sites to converting big houses and buildings into residential flats. It has created pockets where hundreds and hundreds of school aged children all live well within 0.5 miles of each other with only 1 or 2 local schools serving that community.

They have to allocate places using distances measured to 3 decimal points because things are so tight and some people miss out on a school place by less than 30cm!

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 08:34:42

3 decimal places not points

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 04-Sep-13 09:37:38

The problem is that not only did Labour ensure the need for all these school places, not only did they not plan new school places, they also ensured that the funds for new school places when they eventually left power were not there. There was no money left. The government is doing what it can: it was left a complete pig's ear of a mess with education and funding and is trying to do the right thing.

tiggytape Wed 04-Sep-13 10:26:21

In some areas (starting with East London), they are considering doing split shifts for schooling from 2015.

Half of pupils will be assigned the Monday - Wedneday shift doing 8-6pm. And the other half would attend school Thursday - Saturday 8-6pm.

I don't see that being popular with working parents or any parents really but in places like Barking and Dagenham, they've had 1100 more pupils join in Reception than left Year 6 to go to secondary and they've already expanded all the schools and rented office space to house more children.

The council needs £50million a year for ten years to create the extra places needed for the all the children who will want places but the Department for Education is giving it £28million for the next two years.

That's the worst case scenario but many parts of London, Manchester, Bristol and Sussex aren't far short of this either and pretty drastic solutions are going to be needed. The other suggestion is split day schooling (so half the pupils in a school do 8am-2pm and the other half do 2pm - 8pm).

VivaLeBeaver Wed 04-Sep-13 10:40:06

But don't schools have a legal obligation to school kids for a set number of days per year? Which they won't do on three days a week.

prh47bridge Wed 04-Sep-13 10:41:41

catham - You are referring to Building Schools for the Future. That was primarily to upgrade existing schools, not provide additional places. The figures I gave are accurate - the last government spent £2,5 billion on providing new school places in the five years up to 2010, the current government is spending twice that much over five years. To be fair, the pressure on school places was only really building towards the end of Labour's period in office so it is perhaps not surprising that they didn't feel the need to provide as much funding as the current government.

The government provides regular statistics for each LA showing the number of places currently available and the projected requirement for the next few years. The projections are, of course, just that. Some LAs predicted to have a shortage won't actually have one at all. Some will have a much worse shortage than predicted.

Both this government and the previous government provided funding and projections to allow councils to address the problem. I think this has in the past been more a problem with councils rather than government. Many, like Tiggytape's, have been aware of the problem but have adopted a series of sticking plaster approaches rather than attempting to solve the problem. This government's approach appears to be to deal with local authority inertia by taking the job away from them and encouraging people to set up free schools in areas where more places are needed. It remains to be seen whether this will produce the required places.

admission Wed 04-Sep-13 10:52:20

This has been building up for a good number of years, so is not new news, it is just an inevitable consequence of a lack of thought and planning.
Labour when in government, spent lots on school buildings. Unfortunately they were doing it without having the money, but more importantly were busy building brand new swanky secondary schools whilst ignoring the figures showing that there was a birth explosion and the need was for new primary schools.
The LAs do not and have never really had the funding to build the required level of new schools, it has always been national funding that has built new schools. However, in my opinion, the funding now being put into LAs to put in additional pupil places is being wasted with a lack of planning. The planning has been poor, so there is panic mode to resolve the immediate problem. What is needed is more 2 form or 3 form entry primary schools being built not add on classrooms to existing schools. A couple of add on classrooms do not resolve the problem longer term, they create even more problems, when in a couple of years time there is no more space in the school grounds. There has to be some radical thinking and some brutal decisions made to knock down some buildings to create the space for new schools.
I sat in a planning meeting last week, where someone raised the issue about the need for planning for further secondary school places in the future. The response by many round the table was, why do we need to talk about secondary, the problem is in primary. Just illustrates how short term and short sighted too many of the responsible people are. We will be having the same conversations in 4 or 5 years about the lack of secondary school places.
Schools are also their own worst enemy. If the school is a two form entry primary school, then that is what it must remain unless appropriate new facilities are put in place. Making corridors and cloakrooms into new, very small, classrooms may be the knee jerk reaction to solving the immediate problem but actually the school is just letting the LA off the hook from putting in place proper, planned expansion of the school.
Of course ultimately we are too blame, because we have had too many kids!

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