Some London Schools ‘A Fifth Empty’

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Bridge Academy, Hackney, by Che-burashka from the Londonist Flickr pool

We’ve just had the annual round of parents who haven’t got their children into a local primary, and the general gnashing of teeth about oversubscribed schools, then the news comes that some of London’s academies are up to 30% empty.

Academies – state-funded schools run by non-state “sponsors” – are claimed by the government to be popular with parents. So popular, in fact, that they want to massively expand the programme. But while the London Academy in Barnet is over capacity, academies in Southwark and Peckham are 19% unfilled and the Greig City Academy in Haringey is undersubscribed by a whopping 31%.

A lot of these gaps could have a lot to do with academies often being created to replace failing schools, and parents not being able to shake the associations. The Tories (who also love academies) point to a weird way of calculating capacity – something to do with floor space, apparently – and say the figures are misrepresentative. But when a third of London children don’t get their first choice of secondary school, how on earth can there be so many places sitting empty?

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  • http://undefined bascule

    ‘how on earth can there be so many places sitting empty?’

    What a simple question. We don’t live in a police state so people are allowed to move around. Therefore some areas will have too many children of a certain age and some places will have less children of that age.

    It’s also necessary to have overcapacity in a system because otherwise some people miss out totally.

    If you have this overcapacity + freedom of people to move their families then you get crowded schools and less crowded schools.

    You’d have to actually know about capacity planning to know whether the planners were being negligent or not.

    Wait never mind… I just read the BBC article which answers your question.