School places crisis: one in five children fail to receive first or second preferences

Haringey Liberal Democrats have highlighted the growing uncertainty surrounding the allocation of secondary school places in the London Borough of Haringey. Figures released by Haringey Council have shown the percentage of children not receiving their first two secondary school preferences has grown to an unprecedented one in five.

The number of children not receiving their first two places increased over the past three years – from 11% in 2005, to 18% in 2006 and now 20% in 2007.

The increase is exacerbated by a chronic shortage of places in Haringey’s secondary schools. Figures released for the School Organisation Committee meeting on 14th March 2007 shows that Haringey’s secondary school surplus capacity is 2.06% compared to the Department for Education and Skills recommendation of 5%.

Cllr Gail Engert (Lib Dem Children and Young People spokesperson) comments:

“It is unacceptable that this crisis is getting worse each year. Haringey Council need to take action. The Lib Dems have said that the new secondary school in Haringey was needed in 2008 rather than the projected 2010. The lack of secondary school places is something that, as a consequence of Labour’s indecision, will not diminish in the near future”.

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green adds:

“The situation is clearly spiralling out of control. With so many parents being denied their first and second choice, Labour’s rhetoric on education and choice will mean nothing to families who now face the difficult and often heart-breaking decision in working out what to do next.This Council has simply failed to plan in any coherent way and again Haringey parents are suffering the consequences.”

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