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Places ‘crisis’ under control

The number of pupils permanently excluded from Wakefield schools rose last year (generic school corridor image).
The number of pupils permanently excluded from Wakefield schools rose last year (generic school corridor image).

Lancashire is on target to stave off a school places crisis.

According to an analysis by the Local Government Association. the nation is facing a shortage of secondary school places.

County Coun Susie Charles has welcomed the service being made permanent.

County Coun Susie Charles has welcomed the service being made permanent.

It has warned that the country faces a secondary school places “emergency” unless the Government gives councils the powers to open schools or instruct academies to expand.

The data shows the number of secondary-aged pupils in Lancashire is expected to rise by around 14 per cent over the next five years as the recent bulge in primary-aged pupils filters through.

But, unlike many other areas, Lancashire County Council said it will be able to cope with the predicted increase.

With more than 630 schools, including 85 secondaries, Lancashire is one of the largest education authorities in the country – by virtue of school numbers rather than the number of 
pupils .

Unlike many other areas, Lancashire only has a handful of academies (25 secondary), the majority are under LEA control.

County Coun Susie Charles, cabinet member for children, young people and Schools, said: “The county council has a statutory duty to ensure that we have the right number of school places and our officers have a very good track record of doing that.

“We use a range of data to plan, based on historical levels of population growth, migration and other factors.

“The latest School Place Provision Strategy shows that after a period of falling numbers, the demand for secondary places is now rising across the county.

“We will monitor this situation on an ongoing basis to make sure that enough places are available in the future.”