Sadiq Khan has today (Friday 15th) pledged action on the growing school places shortage in London just days before parents in the capital discover whether their children have got a place at the school of their choice.
Labour’s Mayoral candidate revealed new official statistics which show the amount spent on building new schools in London is set to fall by more than half as a result of Tory cuts — from £323 million in 2015 to just £141 million in 2018.
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Khan said: “My daughters are teenagers and I remember only too well the panic as we waited to hear whether they had been got a place at the school of their choice.
“Fewer children in London are getting their top choice because of the growing shortage of places.
“This massive Tory cut to funds to build new schools is hugely irresponsible – and will only make this crisis worse. This comes on top of their policies which have made it nigh on impossible for councils to target new school places where they’re most needed.
“The Tories must do the right thing by London and ensure the capital gets its fair share of schools funding.
“As Mayor, I’ll work with London’s Boroughs and the Government to fix the school places crisis.”
London has the biggest shortfall of school places anywhere in the UK – London councils predict the capital will need 131,000 more places between 2015 and 2020.
Despite that, London’s share of the national funding for new schools is set to fall from 25 per cent last year to just 14 per cent in 2018. Some 13 London Boroughs are set to receive no funding at all.
The drop in funding has led to real concerns that more children will miss out on getting a place at a school of their choice and the increasing overcrowding of classrooms will continue.
Next Monday (18th April) is ‘primary school offer day’ when hundreds of thousands of parents find out whether they have been successful in their choice of primary.
London schools are also set to miss out as a result of Government changes to the formula which allocates funding to schools. Ministers are consulting on new plans, which London councils estimate will see London schools miss out by £260 million — equivalent to 6,253 full-time teachers or 12,309 full-time teaching assistants.
Sadiq Khan also announced plans to convene a working group of London councils to work to plan school places across the city — ensuring new schools are built where they are most needed.