As schools open after the summer break with space for more than 4,100 extra pupils, Surrey County Council has warned that plugging a £215 million funding gap for 13,000 further places is becoming increasingly tough.
Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning Linda Kemeny said: “I’m pleased we have ensured more than 4,100 additional pupils can learn in Surrey schools but it is going to get harder and harder for us to find the £215 million we need over the next five years for the 13,000 further places the county desperately needs.
“The Department for Education will be contributing £112m towards those places and, welcome though this is, it still falls well short of the £327m required to meet this unprecedented demand. This also comes at a time when the council’s finances are under a huge strain from spiralling demand for elderly care.”
Surrey’s school places funding shortfall comes despite residents making a net contribution of £6 billion annually to the Exchequer and getting less than £1bn back.
Mrs Kemeny said: “Since 2010 we have created 10,300 new places for pupils – enough to fill nearly 345 classrooms – and will continue to pull out all the stops to guarantee every Surrey child gets a place at a local school.
“However, with Surrey’s tight budgets getting ever tighter, it will become increasingly difficult and as no other part of the country pays so much into the national coffers and gets so little back any extra help from the government for this mammoth task would be gratefully received.”
Surrey school places created in past three years – 4,138 (2014), 2,882 (2013), 1,772 (2012).
Below is a map showing some of the schools expanded for the new academic year. Click on the pins for details of the places created.