Opposition councillors warn Brighton and Hove heading for schools crisis

Schools Full by 2017

Schools Full by 2017

First published in News by , local government reporter

Brighton and Hove is on the brink of a major school places crisis.

That is the stark warning from councillors after a report suggested the city’s schools could run out of places in the next three years.

A new council report states the city has enough secondary school places to meet demand until 2017 but then they will be full or almost full.

By the end of the decade the council will be expected to supply 1,500 places for 11 to 16 year old pupils in total – the equivalent of another large secondary school.

Opposition councillors said the current Green majority had no idea how to tackle the imminent crisis after the report highlighted there was “no obvious site” for a new secondary school in the city.

At a full council meeting Labour’s Anne Pissaridou said: “What this document reveals is we’re on the brink of a major crisis in secondary places.”

After the meeting, she said: “It is simply unacceptable that the Green administration has allowed a situation to develop whereby the city will run completely out of secondary school places by 2017, meaning parents’ preferences will be restricted.

“The additional numbers of pupils expected in secondary schools has been known for some time, so why didn’t they take action sooner?

Also speaking after the meeting, Andrew Wealls, Conservative spokesman for children and young people, said: “I’m frustrated we’re in this position.

“There’s a danger this will be solved in a less than optimal outcome.”

But Green councillor Sue Shanks denied the council was facing a crisis and warned councillors about making the problem into a political issue.

She said: “I don’t think there’s a crisis in our schools. Everybody can’t go to schools like Dorothy Stringer but we’ve got places in our schools.”

Council leader Jason Kitcat said the council was working to provide places and indicated Toads Hole Valley as a place that could accommodate a school.

He added that the council was also working with existing schools and academies to address the issue.

He said government policy, which means any new build has to be an academy or free school, meant the council was tasked with meeting demand but could no longer supply it on its own.

He added: “We either need to expand all the current schools or create another one and there have been significant discussions to do that."

In December last year Michael Gove, the secretary of State for Education, announced that Brighton and Hove will receive £3.9 million for 2014/15, £12 million for 2015/16 and £12.6 million for 2016/17 for capital projects.

Speaking to The Argus, Pinaki Ghoshal, the council’s executive director of children’s services, said the city would not run out of school places by 2017. He said: “By 2019 that’s when things get more complicated.

"The fact we’re going to need additional secondary school places has not been a surprise.

"We’ve known for a few years we need additional secondary places but the bulge of children are still in primary school. In secondary places we haven’t seen a significant increase.”

He added that the council had only just confirmed it would be getting £24 million from the Government for investment in extra places.

Mr Ghoshal said many schools were already oper- ating above the capacity they were originally designed for.

But in a message to reassure parents, he said: “All children will get a school place in the city of Brighton and Hove. There’s no crisis in 2017.”

Comments (7)

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2:22pm Sat 29 Mar 14

HJarrs says...

When you get to the end of the story we find it is a non story just whipped up by opposition councillors. There needs to be something in place by 2019.

Let's not forget that all parties sit on the education committee, so any crisis reflects upon all. As ever the issue is complicated by government policies, such as cuts to budgets, academies and free schools. I should imagine all local authorities struggle to plan with such a shambles of a system.
When you get to the end of the story we find it is a non story just whipped up by opposition councillors. There needs to be something in place by 2019. Let's not forget that all parties sit on the education committee, so any crisis reflects upon all. As ever the issue is complicated by government policies, such as cuts to budgets, academies and free schools. I should imagine all local authorities struggle to plan with such a shambles of a system. HJarrs
  • Score: -6

5:16pm Sat 29 Mar 14

fredflintstone1 says...

Sus Shanks says that not everyone can go to Dorothy Stringer. She's absolutely right - she should know, as she was a governor there until recently, and will be well-aware that there is a fee-paying language school operating in Stringer, using facilities intended for local pupils during school hours. Who is making the money from this?

My daughter's classes were regularly full of foreign students, and I understand this is still continuing now. There seems to be no problem finding places for them. Why should a private educational business be able to gain access to teaching that is being denied to ordinary families living in the city who are paying for it?

As Green councillor in charge of the city's education policy, perhaps Cllr Shanks would like to enlighten us past and present parents about this state of affairs? None of us parents had any clue about it until our children started there and discovered first hand what is happening.
Sus Shanks says that not everyone can go to Dorothy Stringer. She's absolutely right - she should know, as she was a governor there until recently, and will be well-aware that there is a fee-paying language school operating in Stringer, using facilities intended for local pupils during school hours. Who is making the money from this? My daughter's classes were regularly full of foreign students, and I understand this is still continuing now. There seems to be no problem finding places for them. Why should a private educational business be able to gain access to teaching that is being denied to ordinary families living in the city who are paying for it? As Green councillor in charge of the city's education policy, perhaps Cllr Shanks would like to enlighten us past and present parents about this state of affairs? None of us parents had any clue about it until our children started there and discovered first hand what is happening. fredflintstone1
  • Score: 11

6:22pm Sat 29 Mar 14

hey mongo says...

The kids can do maths lessons working out the percentage of english kids in the classes....5, 10 15 percent?? Vote ukip
The kids can do maths lessons working out the percentage of english kids in the classes....5, 10 15 percent?? Vote ukip hey mongo
  • Score: -2

11:02pm Sat 29 Mar 14

Mr chock says...

hey mongo wrote:
The kids can do maths lessons working out the percentage of english kids in the classes....5, 10 15 percent?? Vote ukip
maybe the answer is home skooling it seems like a good idea the youth of today spend so so long at home .. ok i guess thats not true of all school aged children , some do actually venture out on bikes and skateboards to the Level and other wonderful public places the Council has provided .. i just cant think of to many others.. Skate park level and the play grounds with dog poop oh and Churchill square
[quote][p][bold]hey mongo[/bold] wrote: The kids can do maths lessons working out the percentage of english kids in the classes....5, 10 15 percent?? Vote ukip[/p][/quote]maybe the answer is home skooling it seems like a good idea the youth of today spend so so long at home .. ok i guess thats not true of all school aged children , some do actually venture out on bikes and skateboards to the Level and other wonderful public places the Council has provided .. i just cant think of to many others.. Skate park level and the play grounds with dog poop oh and Churchill square Mr chock
  • Score: 0

12:43am Sun 30 Mar 14

Dave At Home says...

What a load of tripe, at the last count I heard that PACA had about 500 spaces and the Kings Schools was in danger of closing down because it only had about 300 out of a possible 1200 students, and that is only 2 of the many schools in the City. Something is very wrong here, someone can't add up I think. Let's have some open transparency from these Council members, all we seem to hear is claptrap every single day.
What a load of tripe, at the last count I heard that PACA had about 500 spaces and the Kings Schools was in danger of closing down because it only had about 300 out of a possible 1200 students, and that is only 2 of the many schools in the City. Something is very wrong here, someone can't add up I think. Let's have some open transparency from these Council members, all we seem to hear is claptrap every single day. Dave At Home
  • Score: 1

1:12pm Sun 30 Mar 14

whatevernext2013 says...

hey mongo wrote:
The kids can do maths lessons working out the percentage of english kids in the classes....5, 10 15 percent?? Vote ukip
i take it your in favour of a breakaway SCOTLAND ,a free WALES and a 32 county IRELAND and may be pulling out of the FALKLANDS while the english take back england
[quote][p][bold]hey mongo[/bold] wrote: The kids can do maths lessons working out the percentage of english kids in the classes....5, 10 15 percent?? Vote ukip[/p][/quote]i take it your in favour of a breakaway SCOTLAND ,a free WALES and a 32 county IRELAND and may be pulling out of the FALKLANDS while the english take back england whatevernext2013
  • Score: 2

12:42pm Tue 8 Apr 14

rolivan says...

Surely Central Brigton needs a School more than Toads Hole.They could build one on the site of Brighton General and build a Hospital at Toads Hole instead.
Surely Central Brigton needs a School more than Toads Hole.They could build one on the site of Brighton General and build a Hospital at Toads Hole instead. rolivan
  • Score: 0

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