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Primary school places: Deadline day arrives as thousands expected to lose out

Parents are being warned of huge demand for primary school places.

Thousands of parents face their children missing out on the primary school of their choice as the deadline for applications arrives, with the government urged to take action to create more places.

It comes as Labour warns more than half a million children are now in "super-size" classes of over 30 pupils amid a shortage of places, and local authorities say they need greater power to help create availability for children.

It has also emerged that 90 English primaries had been forced to reduce their catchment areas to just 300 metres from their gates, while, according to research, as many as four in 10 children could miss out on their first-choice primary school this year.

Today is the final day parents with four-year-old children can apply for a September 2016 place.

Labour claims that 520,000 primary school children are now being taught in "super-size" classes of more than 30 pupils, claiming the government's "obsession" with free schools - semi-independent schools run by parents or other groups - had made it harder to ensure places for primary school children around the country.

Under the 2010 Academies Act, the government passed measures ensuring that all new schools must be free schools or academies - a move Labour claims has led to further problems.

520,445 pupils aged 5-11 are being taught in classes of at least 31 pupils, Labour says.

This approach is clearly not working for parents up and down the country, with the result that come national offer day, some families applying today will go straight on to a waiting list with no offer of any school place and soaring numbers of children will continue to be crammed into ever-expanding classes, as the only option left for many schools in many areas.

The Local Government Association (LGA) also said that councils must be given the powers to open new schools or force academies to expand in order to meet the demand for school places.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan recently acknowledged "demand" for places but said more than 400,000 had been created by 2010 and 300,000 were planned to become available by the end of the decade.

ITV Article


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