Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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MP demands action over West Midlands school places crisis

Dudley MP Ian Austin has warned that 17 percent of West Midlands schools are at or over capacity as 10,600 local families miss out on their first choice school.

On national offer day (1st March) when parents find out which secondary school their child will be attending in September, new analysis published by the Labour Party reveals the strain on the system caused by the Government’s failed approach to planning for school places:

  • New analysis shows that 17.2 per cent of West Midlands secondary schools are currently at or over capacity.
  • Last year 10,640 West Midlands families did not get their preferred choice secondary school - a rise of 205 on the previous year.

Austin has warned that these figures could rise again this year amid mounting pressure on school places and poor planning from the Government.

The MP has been campaigning for school funding rules to be changed so that popular, well-run and financially-sound schools that are consistently over-subscribed are able to borrow the money they need to expand. Schools would then pay off the loans with the extra funding they receive from taking on more pupils.

Ian Austin said:

“I keep saying we need to make education and skills our number one priority in the West Midlands to attract new businesses and jobs to replace the ones that we’ve lost.

“That’s made much more difficult if class sizes are exploding and local families are missing out on their first choice of school.

“Every year I hear from local parents whose children have lost out on a place at their first choice school. I don’t see why so many local children should be denied places in popular and successful schools just because they haven’t got the space.

“Well-run, oversubscribed and financially sound schools should be able to borrow what they need to expand and then pay the money back with the revenue the extra pupils would bring.”

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