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Demand for school places in Sutton has neglected by government funding - 07.12.09

The growing demand for primary school places in the London Borough of Sutton has been neglected in the recent allocation of government funding.

Sutton has seen a significant growth in the requirement for primary school places in recent months following one of the highest birth rate increases in the capital and the need for school places is predicted to continue to rise in the next few years. Despite the expected shortfall in places, the borough has been completely excluded from the latest funding allocation by the department for schools, children and families.

With some of the best performing schools in the country, more parents are choosing to send their children to primary schools in Sutton when they reach school age, with fewer going out of borough and to the independent sector.

While a total funding allowance of £140 million has been allocated to local authorities in London to provide new permanent classrooms, only 16 boroughs will benefit.

A recent London Councils report revealed that 28 of 32 London boroughs are currently experiencing primary school capacity issues, or expect to in future years and at least 12 of these, including Sutton, will not receive any funding from the Government.  

Cllr Tony Brett Young, executive member for children, young people and learning services, said: "I am extremely disappointed that Sutton has not been included in the allocation of funding for primary school places. The distribution of this money does not reflect the needs of the borough and the rapidly growing demand for primary school places in the area. 

"I feel that the situation could have been better handled by the DSCF and would like to see further support from the Government to meet what should be a basic requirement. Every child in Sutton is entitled to a school place and should not be penalised by the priorities of the Government in a failing economy."

Despite the lack of government funding, the council is committed to ensuring that the necessary places will be provided, and will be setting out its plans to achieve this in the New Year.

The council has committed £8m from the available existing primary funding for an estimated increase of 150 reception places in 2011. Further work is being carried out to determine the total rise in school places in 2011 and will be presented to council members in February 2010.

Last updated: Monday, 07 December 2009

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