‘Crunch time’ – MP on Redbridge having most over-capacity schools
PUBLISHED: 16:12 02 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:12 02 March 2016
An MP has warned of an impending education “crisis” after figures revealed half of the borough’s secondary schools are over capacity.
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said a rising population meant that Redbridge would not be able to cope with demand in coming years.
The data released by London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan’s office showed nine of Redbridge’s 18 secondary schools were over capacity – the worst in London.
“It’s something I’m enormously worried about,” said Mr Streeting.
“We need new schools – that’s the case I’ve made with ministers and council officials. We won’t be able to cope soon.”
The MP said it was a “big crunch moment” for Redbridge, which is expecting a population increase of 52,000 by 2022.
He said: “We need central government to give us the funding and the freedom to build and without support we’re going to have a crisis on our hands.”
The study, which excludes independent schools, comes as parents across the borough found out if their children were given places at preferred schools on Tuesday.
Just over 69 per cent got into first choice secondary schools. The rest – more than 900 pupils – were allocated an alternative in the borough.
Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said the demand for places was a result of being “victims of our own success”.
“Our schools are some of the best in the country,” he said. “People are moving here to get their children into better schools.”
He added: “We are investing but the local authority cannot build – our hands are tied.”
Ursuline Academy Ilford, Morland Road, Ilford, was the most over capacity at 4.8pc.
Headteacher Keran Reilly said: “It’s not really a problem at the moment. But we wouldn’t have the capacity for numbers to go up.”
Deputy headteacher Sam Walters at King Solomon High School, Forest Road, Barkingside, said the school was over capacity, adding it increased annual intake from 150 to 180.
“It doesn’t affect how we run,” he said. “But it could get to a point where there wouldn’t be the physical space here to cope.”
But the council did not consider King Solomon over capacity.
A council spokesman, who said eight schools were, said the authority’s budget plans included £88million to create 4,200 places.
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