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Capacity issues in the primary sector

19 December 2013

Reports indicate the government is making over £2.3 billion available to meet a surge in demand for primary places across England and Wales. In the majority of areas, demand is rising at around 20% with some local authorities indicating rises of closer to 50%. The additional funding, which is being made to local authorities, is to provide for new schools or expansion of existing provision to meet these demands. Critics suggest local authorities will struggle to deal with the issue effectively as their hands are tied due to the restriction on new local authority schools being approved and the growth of academies and free schools outside local authority control.

Whilst the funding is undoubtedly good news, there may be a concern whether local authorities or the EFA (for academy expansions) have the capacity to ensure new schools and expansions take place in readiness for the baby boom. The issue of whether a new middle tier is required again needs to be considered as highlighted in our recent report.

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