Not enough being done in Tower Hamlets for pupils to get first school choice

PUBLISHED: 14:03 13 September 2012

Dear Ed... Many children and parents over the summer had to endure an anxious wait to find out whether or not they had got their first choice primary and secondary places. As always, this is a worry.

Children want a school with their friends and somewhere that’s right for them.

Parents want what’s best for their child.

Around 1,000 primary and secondary pupils didn’t get their first preference school place this year in Tower Hamlets. That’s 1,000 too many.

School places have been a hot topic in the East End this year and for a good reason—not enough is being done to make sure pupils get their first preference now and in the future.

Tower Hamlets Council has predicted a 38 per cent growth in the school age population over the next decade. It means 13,000 more pupils chasing their first preference.

Yet the response hasn’t been proportionate. We’ve got a government which is cutting and a council which only has plans for one new secondary school and extending others.

Already, Tower Hamlets is spending £1.2 million busing children across the borough. This cost will go up while the number of pupils getting their first preference will go down, if we don’t plan ahead.

In the coming months, the council’s Labour Group and I will be campaigning for a better vision for our schools, because planning today will help to ensure pupils get their first preference with a real choice over their future.

Jim Fitzpatrick (Lab)

MP for Poplar & Limehouse

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