In an announcement sure to spark concern among parents throughout the borough, Lambeth Council has announced that it might not be able to secure places for all children by 2015. By tackling the issue directly on its website – warning that 'we are running out of space' – the Council appears to be attempting to head off criticism by laying out its case, which runs roughly as follows.
Demand for school places has grown by up to 40% in some areas of the borough since 2007, meaning 800 more places are needed by 2015. Town Hall says the extra funds it has received from central government (£52m) have not been enough to cover the population increase (they need another £50m). The Council is hoping to shake out the Government's pockets by asking residents to write asking for extra funds.
With classroom space an issue across the capital, it is not just Lambeth suffering. The question for Lambeth Council is: could this spat with central government have been avoided if the Town Hall had planned further ahead? It argues that with 2015 still four years away and with the Government reviewing its capital investment in primary schools, now is the time to mount a campaign for extra funding.