Mon, 15 August 2022

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ATL comment on school places

ATL | Association of Teachers and Lecturers

2 min read Partner content

Commenting ahead of the allocation of school places due tomorrow, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:

"The 20,000 children who will be denied a place at any of their preferred schools have been failed by the Coalition Government. These children were born on the Coalition's watch and have been let down by a Government that prioritised the ideological free school programme over ensuring that every child has a school place.

"The Coalition Government has spent £1.5 billion on a wasteful free school program in which only 75% of places have been filled. At the same time, too many existing primary schools are bursting at the seams, with dining halls and libraries being turned into 'emergency classrooms'. Local Authorities are responsible for providing sufficient school places but have been prevented by law from building and running new schools. The evidence is now undeniable: school places cannot be managed from Whitehall. Now is the time for an alternative plan.

"We need to move to a system where Local Authorities can build and run schools in order that they can fulfil their legal duty to ensure that every child has a place in a safe classroom, with a qualified teacher.

"Political parties often talk about parental choice in schools. Unfortunately for tens of thousands of parents this is an illusion; finding any local school place for their child is a challenge, let alone being able to choose one."