Real strain on school places, spending watchdog warns

Between 2006/07 and 2011/12, the number of four-year-olds starting reception classes rose by 16%. Credit: PA

Tens of thousands of extra school places will be needed by next year amid a continuing surge in demand, the spending watchdog warned today.

Despite more than 80,000 extra primary spaces being created in the last two years, there are still signs of a real strain on school places, according to a new report by the National Audit Office (NAO).

It says that the Government is pumping billions of pounds into establishing more places, but suggests that the Department for Education (DfE) still needs a better understanding of the costs, and the impact its funding is having in local areas.

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'Real strain' on school places

A quarter of a million extra school places will be needed in England by next year to meet rising demand, the spending watchdog has warned. It one in five primary schools in England was full or near capacity and there were signs of a "real strain."