Bromley facing one of London's worst school place shortages in the next five years
PUBLISHED: 15:25 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:01 04 September 2017
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Bromley council says it is "fully committed" to meeting demand
Thousands of Bromley students could be left without a secondary school place in the next five years, a report has warned.
Local Government Association figures warn Bromley could have a shortfall in places of 2,631 by September 2022, among the highest in London.
Only Greenwich, 4,407, and Barking and Dagenham, 3,014, are facing a bigger shortage in the capital, as the LGA warns of a “looming crisis” nationally.
Here in the borough, there are fears schools could be over capacity by the start of the 2019 academic year.
Labour leader Angela Wilkins said: “This projected shortfall comes as no surprise, but is extremely worrying for Bromley families, quite simply it’s time the Tories bit the bullet and got their priorities right.
“They have delayed proposals to expand schools such as Bullers Wood and attempted to keep plans to expand Eden Park school out of the new local plan. Essentially the planning process is being used to prevent more school places being provided; there’s far too much nimbyism and not enough being done to make sure our young people get the education they need and deserve.
“Whilst the new local plan has identified potential for growth, it strikes me as little more than ‘pie in the sky’ given the lack of political will locally to make anything actually happen.”
Anne Gouldthorpe is the headteacher designate of the proposed Bullers Wood School for Boys, she said: “We remain committed to being part of the solution to the squeeze on places in Bromley through the plans for the boys’ school, which will provide 180 much needed places a year. We very much hope that our revised planning application is successful allowing us to open in September 2018.
A Bromley council spokesperson said: “Providing school places for our young people is one of the most important duties that Bromley council has and we are continually reviewing our ideas in this area, as demonstrated by the publication of the most recent Local Plan which has now been submitted to the government for approval.
“We continue to work in partnership with existing academies, as well as groups of teachers, parents and voluntary groups who wish to set up free schools, which is the route through which new school places are created under current government policy. We continue to work with a number of groups who are still making their way through the democratic procedure to secure planning permission.”
London South East Colleges is hoping to open the specialist Shaw Futures Academy by September 2020, which it hopes “will provide additional and much needed places for 11-18 year olds,” a spokesperson told us.