Labour Councillor reveals Council is ‘struggling’ to provide enough school places for September

Labour Councillor Danny Thorpe revealed at last week’s meeting of Full Council that Greenwich Council was ‘struggling’ to provide enough places for all 11 year olds in September.

Confirmation that the borough was struggling to provide the 150 extra school places required for September came as Conservative Group Leader Cllr Spencer Drury followed up on a question from Cllr Mark Elliott. 

Spencer said “I have been concerned about the gap between the number of places the borough needs to provide for 11 year olds and the numbers available for some time.  The Council has gradually allowed schools to reduce in size and even closed some meaning that there are less school places despite an increasing population. 

This sort of poor planning for the future is symptomatic of Labour’s approach to governance in general and I think we need to be clear.  150 places is a five form of entry school.  We cannot magic this up easily in September unless we reopen the Blackheath Bluecoats or St Paul’s buildings.  I fear Labour has rejected this for political reasons, not wishing to allow Free Schools into the borough but our children will pay the price for this principle. 

“Personally I would love to see a Grammar School like Bexley Grammar expand into the borough – there is a clear demand from parents and the number justify this expansion.  Of course this will never happen while Labour are in power.”

Graph showing school places gap from scrutiny report

General Points for interest

  1. The latest report on school place planning to a scrutiny panel can be found at

One of the key sections in this report is 5.14 which states:  “Discussions are underway to expand a popular and successful school in phases, in phases from September 2015, in temporary accommodation prior to a permanent expansion of 6FE by 2017. Discussions are underway with other schools to expand to meet increased demand for places in September 2015.”  The answer from Cllr Thorpe suggests little progress has been made since then.