More first-choice primary school places set to be missed

Increased numbers of primary school age children and a shortage of reception places means as many as one in seven could miss out on their first choice of school

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More children about to start school in September could miss out on their preferred primary school this year due to rising numbers of reception age children and a limited number of school places, the Telegraph reports.

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The number of reception age children in the UK could see an increase of 800,000 in the next eight years. By the year 2020 it’s predicted the number of under-11s in education will rise from 4 million to 4.82 million – the highest number since the early 1970s. 

Helen Jenner, chairman of the Pan London Admissions Board, which co-ordinates the allocation of school places across London, said, “[councils] cannot create places at schools which are already full”.

“London local authorities are working hard to try to ensure that they can offer every child a school place but with this surge in demand it is becoming increasingly difficult,” Helen explained.

The Coalition Government has reportedly made £600 million  worth of emergency funding available to help those areas facing the biggest shortages. London’s reportedly going to experience the squeeze the most – with more than a fifth of children not getting the first school they want, according to the Telegraph.

Some schools are acting to extend their classes where possible as well as running classes in local churches and community halls.

Ged Cooney, executive member for children at Tameside Council, Greater Manchester, is concerned. “Unless we take action, the situation is set to get even more acute over the next three years if births continue to rise,” Ged warned.

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