Sunday, 18 January 2015

Politics: School places crisis deepens

Over a quarter of primary schools in Calderdale have more pupils than places.

Recent figures reveal that Calderdale ranks above the national average in the amount of over-capacity schools.

Data shows that 24 of Calderdale’s 85 primary schools (28.2 per cent) say they are over-capacity - this is compared to a national average of 18 per cent.

It’s a similar situation for Calderdale’s 13 secondary schools, with three schools (23 per cent) saying they are operating above capacity - this is compared to a national average of 17 per cent.

Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley, said: “David Cameron is irresponsibly diverting millions away from children in areas like Calderdale with a shortage of school places in order to fund his pet project Free Schools programme in areas where there are already enough places.

“This is affecting school standards and creating a classroom squeeze, with more infants being crammed into large classes and pupils being taught in makeshift temporary classrooms.”

The council estimates that it will need to find an additional 242 primary school places by September 2018.

Judith Wyllie, a senior officer at the council, said: “Schools may be described as ‘over capacity’ for a number of reasons, which can include those which have just one or two additional pupils.

“Currently, the greatest need for additional school places is in Central Halifax and we have invested in Savile Park School at Heath to create 210 new primary school places,” she said.

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