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.

mam29 Sat 07-Sep-13 18:40:38

Im not sure even with it in the news last week.

no new news anyone on education board as read frequently kids not getting schools places.

fear lots outraged surprised parents next 3years needs a significant volume to be outraged.

also wales scotland no issue.

only issue in england and specific parts of england.

We have couple local pressure groups in bristol.

but they been very quiet recent years which is why i wondered if probem had eased but could be lull before the storm.

blondieminx Sat 07-Sep-13 00:36:46

I read somewhere on here ages ago that one of the problems councils have in planning spaces is knowing where the kids are all actually living and where pinch points are likely to be.

In other words, councils are aware of the birthrate increases but what doesn't happen is any sensible collation of information from doctors surgeries or whatever as to where those 4 year olds live. Add in multiple births (like the anecdote upthread of the 9 sets of twins in one year all living close enough to be in that school year shock) and it must be very tricky to plan based on the current system. The poster above who noted that the councils are all in thrall to management consultants was spot on.

I agree that there should be a statutory duty on councils to provide places in-area ... the sad thing is that so far this government is reducing statutory obligations (ref: the NHS and social care acts, which is (several) whole other threads!) so I fear it's unlikely. Guess it's yet another parenting issue MN will have to MAKE politicians realise we care about wink. Any chance of getting Gove in for a webchat MNHQ? Bet he hasn't got the balls..!

Really worried about this schools places issue in my area (Essex) as we've seen a 20% rise in the birthrate over the last decade coupled with increased migration into the area as people seek to move out of London. Schools, roads, health services all at/above capacity but no money anywhere in the system to really sort it out, so everyone just tinkers around the edges to muddle through.

With the Universal Credit shambles, I suspect the coalition's appetite for a transformational education policy is ahem... limited.

What a blardy mess. How do we fix it?

mam29 Fri 06-Sep-13 10:37:56

Its true we are where are with economy and immigration.

What worries me is they still have no swift action plan to deal with it and its new academic year 2013/204 already and problems expected 2015/2016 in this article just 2years for them to identift site, get planning and build a school or convert a building, as well as emplye staff,buy all the resources, shiny new prospectus to get parents to apply for the school seems big job just one school and uk Iguess needs 100,s as bulge classes cant be theanswer or current schools get very cramped wth hardly any new places for 1st time applicants.

The article says national but the shortage with be regaaional guessing focussed on cities like london, birmingham, manchester and bristol but shortages elsewhere too .

Essex struggling as people moving out london for cheaper housing.

All the southeast counties i guess under pressure as people move where the work is most of us cant afford to be sentimental about where we ant to live and lots have no family nearby to help on school runs/holidays ect.

Im bit baffled by new build estates as most executive and are not cheap. what makes a person buying one not consider ohh it has no school?

its affected few new build estates near me.They outrages they live in these expensive houses yet cant get their kids into local well performing infants and juniors less than half mile away.

you hear about people in same road as school not getting in.

read about schools in libaries or on primary board split sites and new parents have no idea whats gong on before their child starts .
Thres few new schools opening this sepetmebr here but they not been overly popular yet as parents like to see a proven record or at least a bulding to look around and staff to meet i have no doubt they be oversubscribed next year.

1is a free school in city centre in temporary building
other is new build academy in middle of new housing estate.

pyrrah Thu 05-Sep-13 17:19:12

Councils do receive Section 106 money from developers which is ring-fenced for providing new doctor's surgeries, new schools and new public realm (playgrounds etc). The amount of money is based on the number of units, type of units and size of development.

Recently building halted due to the recession. A development near me which incorporated a new doctor's surgery was halted for 4 years with half the foundations dug and has only just got going again.

A big issue in London is actually finding the space to put the schools on - although I am astounded at how many primaries are single-storey which seems ludicrous given the value of the land footprint.

Round here, immigration has made a huge difference - well over half the children in DD's class are recent immigrants. In my mind they are a very positive thing for the schools (the immigrant parents tend to be more focused on education than many indigenous parents). However it cannot be denied that Labour vastly underestimated the scale of immigration and didn't take account of the demographic who were choosing to move here - ie young fertile people.

Another government policy that is not helping - especially in the SE and London - is stamp duty. By the time you factor in legal fees, estate agents fees, moving costs and stamp duty, moving house is a very expensive business besides the actual cost of a house. Many people are therefore opting to stay where they are and not move out to areas with larger properties even if those properties are cheaper than the small more centrally situated ones.

The difficulties in finding school places also encourages people to stay put - if you've got a place in a good school in London and have more than one child, staying in a smaller property looks more attractive than moving to a larger one further out and risking no place at all. It becomes a catch-22.

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 14:40:46

Not in that particular estate wink : rather too close to motorway noise for those who do not NEED to be near bus routes!
Many of those who are starting to move do not go far but they do go.

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:36:01

"In three to four years, many of the original families will move (as their last child leaves home) and young families will move in and the school will be walking distance children again"

That would be the plan, yes.

However, how likely is it that houses that were affordable for young marrieds in 1995 will be affordable for people in the same position in 2015? And that's assuming that a significant number of the residents do, in fact, move when the last child leaves home rather than staying in a house they like with neighbours they like, keeping spare rooms for the grandchildren, etc. If they're in their fifties, say, aren't they more likely to wait for ten years and move when they retire?

Talkinpeace Thu 05-Sep-13 14:31:04

Cycles of population.

DCs primary is surrounded by an estate that was built in the mid 90s and filled up with young families.
When DD started at the school in 2002, 2/3 of the parents lived on the estate and walked to school.
The families still live there, but their children are now at college and Uni so the school is full of out of catchment parents who drive.
In three to four years, many of the original families will move (as their last child leaves home)
and young families will move in and the school will be walking distance children again

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 13:29:24

"built mid 70's with 5 primary schools. when i was leaving one school 1994iish (temporary contract teacher) they were struggling to stay open"

Precisely. The cycle for schools is about twenty years. People arrive on a new estate aged around 30, either with or intending to have children. Few of them are initially of school age but rapidly they are, so the schools start to fill, mostly from the bottom with composite classes higher up. After seven years the school's full and running. About fifteen years after the school opened, the people who bought the houses initially have mostly stopped having children, but have put down roots (and perhaps still have children in secondary schools nearby) so stay put. As their children leave home they perhaps do look at moving, and houses become available for a new cohort. But if the area is pleasant, a lot stay. Either way, the number of houses available to buy in year 20 is nothing like the number that were available when the place was being built.

A school large enough for the initial cohort on a new-build estate will almost always be too big twenty or thirty years later. And estates tend to have small roads and no bus connections, so the school is not well situated for people coming from other places.

We didn't see this in the past because the war had disrupted things and there wasn't a hell of a lot of choice given the massive population boom 1950 to 1965. The same went double for secondary schools: there had been no large-scale state secondary education prior to the 1944 Act, so not only did you need to cope with rising numbers, you needed to educate them to successively 14, 15 and 16 when previously it had been 12. But now, unless you're willing to write schools off after 20 years, or bus, or something, deciding where to put schools is really, really hard.

The secondary school I went to in the 1970s had a capacity, at its peak, of over 2000 (13 form, ie 390 per year intake). It was recently demolished and replaced with a bijou academy with an intake of 180, which it isn't managing to get. There are some other factors (it went into special measures, in part because of collapsing numbers, although it's now very good) but the basic problem is no 11 year olds. Other local schools haven't expanded. There's massive pressure on secondary places predicted elsewhere in the city, but realistically, keeping 1400 places "on ice" in an empty building for twenty years wasn't going to help anyone.

tiggytape Thu 05-Sep-13 13:07:45

MillionPramMiles - it depends not just which town you live but which part of town too. I know families living in the areas you mention and there is no getting away from it - they are really short of school places already. There are already definite black holes. That means that there are certain roads where you would not be close enough to any school to be sure of a place.

On the flip side, the primary schools in those areas are all big - normally at least 60 children in reception with up to 150 (5 reception classes) planned at some schools. So if you lived within 200m of the school that has 5 classes for reception you probably don't need to worry whereas if your closest school only takes 60 and you are 0.9 miles away, you would potentially have a problem.

You can log on to your council's website and click on the primary admissions booklet to view last year's "last distance offered"
This is the furthest distance a child lived last year who got an offer at each school. It is wise to assume those distance will shrink a bit each year unless the school is one undergoing massive expansion.

MillionPramMiles Thu 05-Sep-13 12:35:48

Is the situation as bad as the media present it?
I'm genuinely concerned, my dd would be starting school in 2016.

I'd welcome views from those with children in schools around Epsom/Ewell, Sutton/Cheam, Streatham. All were named in recent articles as struggling areas but has that been people's experience in reality on the whole?

BlackeyedSusan Thu 05-Sep-13 12:23:08

there is an estate, nearish where I used to live. built mid 70's with 5 primary schools. when i was leaving one school 1994iish (temporary contract teacher) they were struggling to stay open and there was talk of amalgamation. just checked and there are now 3 schools, some closed in 2005 to amalgamate. I have no idea if they are all full or need extra places. there was definitely talk of falling birth rates.. it took 10 years for them to close though... followed by increasing birth rates..

i am off to look for other schools I taught at.

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:31:18

"Going forward blaming is not going to get us anywhere, some areas need more schools,"

Well, we need to know why the numbers are up in order to know where the bulge will be and how long it will last for. Three or four miles away in this city there is massive demand with temporary classrooms in playgrounds; near me, several primaries are on life support and there are upwards of a thousand spare places. Ageing local population, more streets becoming de facto exclusively student housing, etc. But is that pattern going to persist for the lifetime of a new school?

Some countries would solve the problem with bussing: then you only need sufficient places at a larger scale, so 1000 spare places here and a 1000 place shortage five miles away is OK. That's not going to be popular in primary in England. But building schools with fifty-year lifespans is very tricky.

Slapping a school in the middle of a new-build estate of houses is superficially sensible, but what happens in twenty years' time when all the children of the initial purchasers of the houses have moved on? People often buy houses near good schools, but they are much less likely to move out just because their children have finished at that school. In my city, there are a lot of 1960s-build schools with falling numbers surrounded by a collar of elderly residents whose children were the pupils at those schools in the 1970s. A generation or two ago, couples in perfect health living in their own houses thirty or forty years after their children finished school, with none of their children (and therefore grandchildren) living with them, would be unusual; not so much today.

nancy75 Thu 05-Sep-13 11:16:08

Friday16,
not just older parents because of income, but also because of second families. There are quite a few parents that had their first lot of children young, those children are now in their late teens, the parents have divorced and remarried and also have young children that are going to school now.
It must be impossible to plan.
As I mentioned above my dd's school has 9 sets of twins in 1 year - yes there would be a record that so many twins were born in that year, but who could predict they would all live half a mile from the same school at the same time?

I don't have any answers to what went wrong, my initial response on this thread was really to a very nasty post that was written about Eastern European migration, which I am pleased to see has been deleted.
Going forward blaming is not going to get us anywhere, some areas need more schools, we need to stop moaning about certain groups stealing all our school places and start looking for fast effective ways to deal with the situation.

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 09:05:08

"The type of families people are having are changing in this area, there is more ivf so more multiple births and people here are simply having more children. "

Hmm, that's interesting. Presumably London means more expensive housing which means older parents which means more chance of multiple births. 100 000 more people were born in 1980 than in 1976, and people born 1980-ish are probably the parents of children starting primary school now, and are the generation that moved to London (and the south east) for work. People born 1980-ish are also the beneficiaries of massive expansion in higher education starting 1997-ish, so will be more likely to move to cities (actually, London) for graduate-level work. Very different to this city.

One thing that's been a disaster for school planning (and which makes it hard to blame anyone too much) is that it is impossible to predict, or control, movement of UK citizens within the UK, so if you get a clustering of 30-ish people in one area you have a problem, potentially at short notice. I'd not thought of the siblings problem: if you get a spike in the number of children in an area then the following few years are going to be a nightmare for planners if the sibling rule is adhered to. My children are now at a school which doesn't have sibling priority (selective, so my younger had no extra priority just because my elder was there) so it's not something I encounter.

Lampshadeofdoom Thu 05-Sep-13 07:55:30

My mums area has this problem.

Last two years primary children didn't get a place anywhere in the borough. In the end they stuck ports cabins on spare land.

Yet there are building 500 houses.

nancy75 Thu 05-Sep-13 07:49:18

Friday16, no schools in special measures.
There are 3 schools within walking distance to me all are given the highest oversted ratings.
The problem this year was siblings, 63 of the 90 places in the year were taken by siblings, of course it is right that siblings get in but it does make the catchment of the school very small if you are trying to get in on distance.
In my daughters year there are 9 sets of twins in one school year, when I was at school twins were rare!
The type of families people are having are changing in this area, there is more ivf so more multiple births and people here are simply having more children.
I'm not against people doing any of these things by the way, I just don't think we should blame everything on immigration

celticclan Thu 05-Sep-13 07:22:34

It's a huge problem where we live every year they are needing to find another 50 places and are running out of room.

In my area the rising number of children has nothing to do with immigration. Less families are choosing private schools and more families are moving into the area. Our pleasant family orientated town has become a victim of its own success.

friday16 Thu 05-Sep-13 07:05:22

"I am going to disagree with immigration being the cause of everything. I live in a London borough that is seeing more and more oversubscribed schools. The cathchment in my Dds school has gone from 1.5 miles to 0.2 miles in the last couple of years. I know for a fact there is not one eastern European child in my daughters year."

A drop of last admitted from 1.5 miles to 0.2 miles must be something more than a shift in birthrate: that is a 56-fold decrease in area, so unless your local birthrate has increase by five thousand percent and the average woman is having a hundred children (which seems a little unlikely) there must be more to it than that. Has another local school gone into special measures?

Tanith Thu 05-Sep-13 00:41:08

Rather surprised that the infamous "foreign-born" mothers report from 2009 is still being bandied about.

I was one of those "foreign-born" mothers. My father was serving in the British Army and I was born in a British Military hospital in West Germany.

ClayDavis Wed 04-Sep-13 23:23:47

I agree, nancy. Our council very much puts the problem down to migration, not immigration. There has been an increase in Eastern European immigrants into the area, but what has put most pressure on school places seems to be an influx of white British families into the area.

BlackMogul Wed 04-Sep-13 23:18:24

I think posters need to be aware that many housing developers had to agree to pay for new schools if large housing schemes were given planning permission. Housing developers stopped developing when the credit crunch hit, and the projected schools were not built. In my area, a school that was originally due to be rebuilt and nearly doubled in size failed to get the govt funding required, and the developers renegotiated their contribution because they never built a single house. They have now built and the school is now on its way. Quite a lot of rebuilt schools under Labour's scheme were increased in size.

nancy75 Wed 04-Sep-13 23:08:51

I am going to disagree with immigration being the cause of everything. I live in a London borough that is seeing more and more oversubscribed schools. The cathchment in my Dds school has gone from 1.5 miles to 0.2 miles in the last couple of years. I know for a fact there is not one eastern European child in my daughters year. We live in a very middle class 'white' area, the problem here is that people just seem to be having more children. Families with 4 or 5 children are not unusual.

Crumbledwalnuts Wed 04-Sep-13 23:00:56

Why would he take advice from the LGA and council leaders when the LG's and councils have helped to f everything up? Ofsted likewise. They probably all just want more money.

muminlondon Wed 04-Sep-13 22:57:59

Yes, there has to be coordination over London. Gove shouldn't keep ignoring all the advice from the NAO, Academies Commssion, LGA, Ofsted, council leaders of all political parties. I didn't even vote Labour last time but Gove is such an irresponsible c

Changebagsandgladrags Wed 04-Sep-13 22:54:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now