Kingston Parents Facing School Places Crunch - Christian Democrats Urge Action

Parents in Kingston upon Thames are facing major barriers to getting their children into local schools, with significantly more primary pupils than places within two years, according to the Local Government Association (LGA). Local activists in the Christian Peoples Alliance are urging action after the LGA's stark warning that Kingston will face between an 11-13% shortfall in places by 2015, based on analysis of official data from 2012.

Rising birth rates began the squeeze but uncertainty over funds has made it worse, the LGA says. Locally, the Christian Peoples Alliance is critical of politicians at the Guildhall for failing to give parents the facts about the emerging problem.
Mother of two and Chessington resident, Sue May, said:
"Parents have a natural expectation that when their child reaches school-age, a place in a good quality local primary will be available to them. But the projected shortfall is very worrying. To date, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives running Kingston Council and its neighbourhood committees have failed to say how they will tackle this emerging crisis. "
The figures are drawn from the Department from Education's (DfE) School Capacity Survey (see notes) which covers numbers of school places and forecasts of school spaces until 2016/17 for each local authority. It states that at primary level in Kingston, there are currently 12,535 pupils of primary school age. But this number rises to 13,592, or 1512 more children within 2 years.
According to the Guildhall, in 2011, 1,871 borough residents applied to Kingston Council for primary school places. In 2012 that figure rose to 1,960 and this year it was 2,024. This is now projected to rise steeply.
Sue May added:
"Local authorities are best placed to know the needs of their community and to act accordingly. But despite the legal obligation on Kingston to make provision for primary-aged children, they have few powers to ensure places exist. We now need urgent steps to provide further places and I want to see the Council working with potential providers, including extending our successful family of church primary schools."
The Council states that Kingston has one of the lowest populations of any borough in London (excluding the City of London), but states that the population of the borough has been growing in recent years, with expectations of this increase continuing for the foreseeable future. The LGA findings do not take into account some recent steps to increase school places because the analysis isbased on official figures from the last academic year.
Department from Education's (DfE) School Capacity Survey:

Kingston Population Projection - Percentage increase 2011 to 2031 - 10.4%
RBK Details on School Provision

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