The rising primary school population is beginning to take its toll on the Department of Education’s budgets, and could result in new “super-size” schools to meet the growing demand.
The Department of Education has stated they’ve given £5bn to councils since the last general election, whilst the Local Government Association has had to fill a £1bn shortfall in funding for places.
Many schools have started to introduce temporary classrooms or have built extensions to cater for growing classrooms. As councils are placing an extra £1billon in catering for the rising number of pupils, other parts of schools are becoming neglected, as there isn’t enough money for building projects or maintenance tasks.
It is no surprise that Netmums, a parenting website, has reported that parents are now worrying about the quality of primary schools, which are expanding at a rapid rate. More than 1,700 people responding to the website, and expressed concern over classroom sizes and the consequences of classroom overcrowding.
Siobhan Freegard, the founder of Netmums, commented: “Every parent wants their child to have the best education possible, so it’s totally understandable why the rise in ‘supersize primaries’ has got mums and dads concerned. Although some kids flourish in a busier environment, many parents feel that increased class sizes and number of classes leads to their child being forgotten”.
According to Tristam Hunt, Labour’s Shadow education secretary, the number of five to seven-year-olds in large primary school classes of over 30 children has increased by 200% since 2010. That’s a rise of nearly 100,000 infant children.