Council confident Leigh area will not suffer primary school place shortage
7:10am Friday 13th September 2013 in NW
EDUCATION chiefs say they are confident the Leigh area will not suffer a shortage of primary school places.
The comments come after a report was released last week highlighting that half of England’s school districts will have more primary school pupils than places by 2015.
The report by the Local Government Organisation blames rising birth rates and tightened budgets for the shortfall.
Kirston Nelson, Wigan Council assistant director of education, said: “As in many areas, the borough has experienced an increase in demand for primary school places over the past few years.
“This increase appears to peak in 2015. In response to this, the council has committed to a programme of increasing the number of primary school places, either temporarily or permanently, where we have forecast additional need.”
Some districts face a 20 per cent shortfall by 2015 even though the Government says it has doubled funding for new school places.
Kirston added: “We have already created additional places in the Atherton and Lowton areas from September 2013 by enlarging existing schools, rather than opening new schools.
“While we are confident that our plans will ensure that we will have sufficient school places in the area for 2015, the high demand means that parents’ choice of school place for their child may be more limited.
“We will continue to monitor the supply of school places carefully.”
• Analysis of local authority data by the LGA suggests that 1,000 of the 2,277 school planning districts will be over capacity by 2015-16.
• The greatest pressure is on 99 districts where there is predicted to be more than 20 per cent more pupils than places. The figures are based on statistics from the last academic year and do not take into account recent steps to increase places.
• By the beginning of the 2016 academic year, two thirds of local authorities predict they will have more pupils than places.
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