Friday, 15 March 2013

Panic! No school places for 2013 baby boomers!

Are we, in England, so incredibly inept, that we feel the need to panic when a statistician tells us that there won't be enough school places for children starting school in 2 years time?

2 years? That's a long time, right? That's long enough to go out and recruit a few extra reception teachers, or to canvas the supply teachers already on the books, isn't it?

The BBC news website indicates that "a quarter of a million extra school places will be needed in England by autumn next year, with one in five schools already full or near capacity". They talk about the rising birth rate which was higher than expected over the last few years. Really? In a recession there's a high birth rate? Oh you do surprise me. Sarcastic? Moi? Never!

Additionally the School's Minister David Laws took the opportunity to blame the previous government for policies that saw school places cut. There's no mention of the fact that we presumably haven't needed them in the last few years, hence the cut, nor is there any reference to the fact that you would expect need for school places to come in waves, since that's how population trends work.

On my local radio station this morning folk were already panicking that there wouldn't be spaces for their children, despite the fact that local councils have a duty to provide enough spaces, and I can't imagine for one moment that there aren't council employees working to ensure that there are enough physical classrooms, as well as enough teachers literally as I type.

On the BBC meanwhile, it is another opportunity for ministers to play the "it wasn't me" blame game, rather than actually saying; yes birth rates have increased and we are working to flex the system accordingly, as we have done since the education system in this country originated.

I am extremely close to ranting, as I feel sorry for the conscientious people whose job it is to sort this out, working their hardest, only to have scare mongering and ministers food fights cloud their good work.

But am I right to rant? It is only my opinion after all. Go on, pull up a chair and tell me what you think.

Are we right to panic? Should parents be shouting, and if so, to whom? Are we ready to up our taxes to pay for more places if that's what's needed? Should we prepare to have to home school? If so, could that be extended and could parents become teachers? Does this lead to questions around population control, or is that going crazy? Grab a cuppa and a biscuit. What do you think?

Note: parents will find out if they have school places commencing in September 2013 on 16th April 2013.


  1. Local councils will have this in hand. They know from the birth records if there is a spike in the birth rate and whether it is temporary or ongoing. Some schools will need extra classrooms built, others will manage with what they have. Will be paid for by combination of council tax and the government. The process for getting new classrooms through planning, then designed and built is a slow one. To be ready for Sept 2014, that work needs to start now!
    Can you tell I'm a school governor and a council worker? Us councils get very annoyed by these scaremongering stories in the media just to sell a few papers. They imply councils don't what's going on and there's a problem. That just isn't true.

  2. not scare mongering and it is due to immigration


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