Was Labour wrong on primary places shortfall as FactCheck claims?

Janet Downs's picture
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Black mark for labour on primary school places, says FactCheck in its analysis of Labour’s claim that there will be a shortfall of 120,000 primary school places this September.

FactCheck points out that Labour has confused a rise in school population with places available and therefore its calculations about a shortfall in primary places by September 2013 are incorrect. Factcheck rightly says that a rise in school population in an area with surplus places isn’t going to be a problem in that particular area.

Nevertheless, the National Audit Office (NAO) pointed out there will be a shortfall of 240,000 primary places by September 2014 unless the Government takes action. FactCheck acknowledges this and says the Government is funding 110,000 extra primary places by September 2013.

But that would still leave a shortfall of 130,000 by September 2014 unless the Government provides extra money over-and-above what it has already allocated.  Opening new free schools will not solve the problem unless these are in shortage hotspots.  Only 5 of the primary free schools opened in September 2012 were in areas listed by the New Schools Network* as being in need of extra places by 2014/15.

So, Labour’s confused calculations and the rather hysterical tone of its press release shouldn’t detract from the fact that there will be a shortfall of primary places by 2014 unless the Government addresses this problem.

 

*The New Schools Network, the organisation commissioned by the Government to help free school proposers, used Department of Education figures.

 
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