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Islington Council dismisses school places shortage warning

PUBLISHED: 18:34 04 October 2017

Islington branch of Keep Our NHS Public hosted a public meeting at Islington Town Hall 15.11.16. Pictured speaker Cllr Richard Watts

Islington branch of Keep Our NHS Public hosted a public meeting at Islington Town Hall 15.11.16. Pictured speaker Cllr Richard Watts

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Warnings over a shortage of school places are misplaced in Islington, according to the council.

City of London Academy, Highbury Grove is one of a number of Islington schools increasing in capacity. Credit: Ken MearsCity of London Academy, Highbury Grove is one of a number of Islington schools increasing in capacity. Credit: Ken Mears

London Councils – the cross-party organisation representing London’s 33 local authorities – is predicting that the capital’s schools face a £1billion funding shortfall over the next six years due to expected demand for nearly 64,000 additional places.

According to the Do the Maths report, released in September, Islington needs to make up a shortfall of 528 primary and 640 secondary school places by 2023.

But Islington Council has cited eight schools set for an increase in places, on top of the 60 spots filled at the City of London Primary Academy, Islington, which opened last month. The school is temporarily being run at Moreland Primary School for the next two years before moving to the old Richard Cloudesley School site, to the north of the Golden Lane Estate.

Moreland itself also added another 15 places in September, while Tufnell Park Primary School is adding 45 places in two years’ time.

St John’s Highbury Vale and St John Evangelist primary schools could also be increasing their numbers, subject to approval.

A council spokesman said: “Plans are already in place to expand some existing primary and secondary schools to accommodate projected admission numbers over the next few years.”

In terms of secondary schools, Arts and Media School Islington added 30 places this year, while City of London Academy, Highbury Grove, City of London Academy, Islington and Central Foundation Boys’ School are all increasing their pupil capacity next year.

Do the Maths is published by London Councils every year and models the expected shortfall in school places in London using pupil population forecasts and school capacity data.

It also examines patterns of local authority spend on new school places, including the levels of funding provided by central government.

Cllr Richard Watts, speaking in his capacity as the Local Government Association’s education boss rather than Islington’s council leader, said: “The school places squeeze is now about to hit secondary schools. More and more families will face growing uncertainty when trying to secure their child’s secondary school without action.

“Councils are working with one hand behind their backs to help as many pupils as possible receive a place at their first choice school.”

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