Secondary School, London

Secondary schools in London are ‘most overcrowded in the country’

One in five London secondaries is now full or over capacity, making schools in the capital the most overcrowded in the country, according to figures released today.

They show 19.6 per cent of secondary schools in London are full (1.1 per cent) or over capacity (18.5 per cent), ahead of those in the South-East on 18 per cent and the West Midlands on 17.2 per cent.

The figures, obtained by Labour mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan, show big discrepancies between different boroughs. In Kingston-upon-Thames and Redbridge, half of secondary schools are at or over capacity.

In Kensington & Chelsea, Merton, Tower Hamlets, Haringey and Wandsworth the figure is 36 per cent, while Hackney, Lambeth and Newham have no issues.

The House of Commons Library figures were released to coincide with National Offer Day, the day families learn if their child has been given a place at their favoured secondary school.

Some schools feeling the squeeze on places have had to convert music rooms and libraries into classrooms as well as installing mobile classrooms in playgrounds and on playing fields.

Mr Khan, who is calling for the next mayor to be handed oversight of school places, said: “The Tories’ approach ... just isn’t working and is creating a crisis in school places in London.

“Parents don’t care about the boundaries between London’s boroughs, they just want to know their child will get a place in a good school nearby, in a class of 30 or fewer.

“What we need is a stronger role for the mayor to address the crisis and to make sure children are not being crammed into over-large class sizes.”

The Tooting MP said he would set up a School Places Forum of specialists to co-ordinate and plan London’s response to school places pressure.

Boris Johnson created a New Schools for London unit in 2012 with the aim of setting up dozens of free schools across the capital but has not yet succeeded in producing the number of places needed to deal with the crisis.

London pupils are expected to be the least likely in the country to get their preferred place at secondary school.Education experts have predicted more than 28, 000 London 11-year-olds will miss out on their first choice this year.

According to City Hall, demand for secondary places is expected to rise by 105, 000 by 2025, while 60, 000 new primary places will also be needed.

The Good Schools Guide has warned there are not enough secondaries in the capital to cope with the number of children needing places this autumn.

A DfE spokesman said: "Every parent should have access to a good school place for their child. Despite rising pupil numbers, 95 per cent of parents received an offer at one of their three preferred schools last year.

“London continues to be the highest performing region in the country, so it’s no wonder that the capital's schools are hugely popular.

"London has received almost £2 billion in basic need funding in the last four years. This funding – and over 90 mainstream free schools delivered centrally - has helped to create over 155, 000 school places in London between 2010 and 2014.

“The city has already been allocated £960 million for school places up to 2018 and there are 56 mainstream free schools already in the pipeline. Together this will create tens of thousands of new school places in the capital, giving parents more choice than ever before.”

Six-year-olds tutored from age of six

London parents are registering their children for tutoring from the age of six in a bid to prepare them for secondary school entrance exams, a tutor agency revealed.

Nav Johal, founder of Examberry, said she gets calls from parents of six-year-olds once a week asking for tutoring. This has increased from two years ago when she would get a call once a month. The children are tutored for entrance exams for grammar and private schools. Ms Johal added that there had been an increase in eight-year-olds opting for two years of 11+ tutoring.

Interesting facts:

London South Collegiate Institute (also known as South Secondary or simply South) is a public high school in London, Ontario, Canada, at 371 Tecumseh Avenue East.
South is administered by the Thames Valley District School Board. Approximately 1,000 students attend...

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