The Yorkshire Post says: Government must act on region's school places crisis

YORKSHIRE'S growing crisis over the number of secondary school places needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency by the Government.

Schools in Yorkshire are under pressure.

It is completely unacceptable that local authorities across the region should be facing the prospect of not having enough places for pupils as a result of funding problems not of their making.

This is an issue about the life chances of thousands of children. Their parents will rightly be deeply concerned that councils are struggling to manage in the face of a rising population and birth rates that will see more than 54,000 needing school places in Yorkshire in the years ahead.

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As so often with relations between the Government and councils, it is local authorities which are left to cope with the consequences of flawed funding 
formulas.

In the case of schools, a formula that leaves councils without the resources to provide new places is clearly not fit for purpose and needs rethinking.

The Government cannot simply shrug its shoulders and lump responsibility onto local authorities in the expectation that they can sort the problems out. Hard-pressed councils are already struggling to cope with severe budgetary restraints, and do not have the resources to address a crisis in school places without help.

The Local Government Association is suggesting a way forward by giving councils the power to open new maintained schools.

That would be one solution, but the only real answer to the problems is for the Government to listen to councils’ concerns and act on them.