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School places 'extremely difficult'

The Local Government Association is warning that almost half of primary school districts in England could face an acute shortage of spaces within two years.

It is calling for restrictions on free schools, which are outside local authority control. Ministers say they are adding capacity, and free schools give parents choice.

Bob Garton, head of Gascoigne Primary in Barking, east London, is feeling the pressure.

He said: "It's been extremely difficulty over the past five years. We've taken on an extra 400 pupils, in fact this summer we've been extremely busy refurbishing another five classrooms and getting ready for September."

Councillor David Simmonds, chair of the LGA's children and young people board, explained: "Councils have been working very hard to show government that the numbers of children going through the system between 2006 and 2007, are far higher than many of the national statistics suggested.

"The government has begun to recognised that with the £5bn of additional funding, and what we're trying to do now is to make sure that that money gets to the sharp end and deliver school places," he added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday 3 September 2013.

  • 03 Sep 2013
  • From the section UK