Council facing £40m shortfall for school places

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LEEDS CITY Council could face a shortfall of around £40m to provide the extra school places needed over five years.

The city has been given £139m Government funding to create primary and secondary places but a report to next month’s executive board identifies a shortfall of more than £40m.

A separate report published today by the Local Government Association also warns that councils have been forced to cut back on school repairs, building projects and to borrow money to plug a £1 billion black hole in funding for the new places needed nationally.

More than three quarters of authorities in England say they have not received enough money from the Government to create the extra school places needed in their area in the five-year period to 2016/17, according to a poll by the (LGA).

Local councils were asked by the LGA if money provided by the Department for Education (DfE) had fully met the cost of providing school places between 2011/12 and 2016/17. Coun David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s children and young people’s board said: “The scale of this black hole is such that the cost of the creation of new school places cannot be met by council taxpayers. Councils face a challenge to create places on time and in the right areas, in a climate where they are also short of money to do so.”

Leeds City Council is yet to identify where the money will come from to plug the funding gap in the city.

The authority said it was facing a funding shortfall despite the average cost of creating new primary school places in Leeds being more than 50 per cent lower that the national average between 2010/11 and 2012/13.

The council also said the predicted shortfall figure was subject to some change as the way it was calculated was being reviewed.

Rachel Reeves, Leeds West MP and former junior chess champion, during her visit toWhingate Primary School with Grand Master Malcolm Pein, Chief Executive of CSC, to support of Chess in Schools and Communities.
Picture shows Malcolm Pein and Rachel Reeves taking part in a simul against 16 children.
Rachel will joined children of the school in a chess lesson and give a simultaneous exhibition, playing the best players from the school.
 Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) is a UK charity whose mission is to improve childrens educational outcomes and social development by introducing them to the game of chess.
16 November 2017.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Founded in 2009, CSC now teaches in over 300 schools and supports 500 more nationwide including 13 in Leeds, teaching around 1000 children each week how to play the game in classroom lessons and after-school clubs.

Chess ace Leeds MP drops into school for eight games at once