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One in six schools in Yorkshire and the Humber over capacity as places shortage worsens. -

Regional primary schools struggle to provide places as funding diverted to David Cameron's Free Schools programme.

 

20141009_141546.jpgTristram Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education meeting with parents in West Yorkshire concerned about the shortage of places.

 

 

 One in six primary schools, within the region have more pupils than they have places for, Labour analysis of freedom of information requests has revealed.

 The scale of the school capacity problem across the region comes as parents rush to meet the deadline for primary school applications this week.

Some of the most affected areas in the region include North Yorkshire and York where nearly half the primary schools are at or over capacity, in Bradford and Calderdale 1 in 3 schools are reporting the same thing. However it is the East Riding of Yorkshire which is the most significantly effected area with 84 of its 123 schools either at capacity.

It means many children are being forced into large classes or temporary, make-shift classrooms. In Bradford East in particular many infant pupils find themselves in classes of well over 30 pupils.

The squeeze on the number of school places is being felt nationally, with Local Authorities and teachers being forced to take drastic action to accommodate growing numbers of pupils.

In Barkley and Dagenham a primary school with 1,200 pupils has being forced to convert its playing field, library and old music block into classrooms.

Another school in Northumberland was forced to convert a double-decker bus into a classroom, after running out of space within the school buildings, with toilets and cupboards having already been converted.

At the same time, hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent on David Cameron’s flagship Free Schools in areas where there is no shortage of school places. Responses to recent Freedom of Information requests show that four in five of the new Free Schools this academic year had not filled all their places on opening - just two of the new mainstream primary Free Schools had all the pupils they planned for.

 

Tristram Hunt MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

 “David Cameron is irresponsibly diverting millions away from children in areas 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.

 “Unlike this Tory-led Government, Labour has the right priorities for raising school standards. We will prioritise new school places in areas where there are shortages, have rigorous local oversight of schools and ensure that all teachers have or are working towards qualified teacher status.”

 

 

 

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