£15m boost for primary school places is not enough, warns Sutton Council 19.04.12
Sutton Council has welcomed the news it will receive extra funding for primary school places - but warned this must be followed up with continued investment over the coming years.
Following warnings from councils across London, including Sutton, that extra funding is urgently needed, the Department for Education announced a £600m pot to help the areas most affected by rising pupil numbers. Sutton will receive a £15m share of that money for the 2012/13 school year.
Cllr Kirsty Jerome, Executive Member for Education and Schools at Sutton Council, said: "We've campaigned hard for extra money from the Department for Education to make sure we can provide places in our schools for our local children, so I'm glad Mr Gove is directing this money where it is needed.
"It is important that boroughs like Sutton continue to receive this funding, as demand continues to increase, and of course all of these extra pupils will soon need secondary school places too.
"The DfE has recognised that this is a serious issue for Sutton and schools across London, but this piecemeal approach to funding means it's very hard to plan ahead. We're calling on the department to think ahead like we are so we can ensure we have plenty of places for local children in the coming years."
Sutton has one of the highest birth rates in London, and over the past four years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families applying for primary school places in the borough.
Data from the Greater London Assembly suggests this trend is set to continue. In October 2011, 13,927 pupils attended Sutton Primary schools. By September 2014 this is predicted to rise to 15,906 and by September 2016 it is expected to reach 16,996.
The latest round of money from the DfE will help to expand five primary schools - All Saints Benhilton Church of England Primary, All Saints Carshalton Church of England Primary, Brookfield Primary and The Federation of St Elphege's Catholic Infant and Junior and Cheam Infants and Juniors - in time for the start of the new school year in September.
Sutton Council recently launched a consultation to gather views about expanding another four schools in time for September 2013. It is also looking into providing places on the site of the former Stanley Park High School.
Sutton's primary schools celebrated some of the best SATs results in the country this year, coming number three in the national league tables. The borough also recorded the best GCSE results in the country.