Unpopular schools unlikely to survive

6th March 1998 at 00:00
Unpopular schools with large numbers of unfilled places will be forced to close, unless the local authority can explain why they are so empty.

Stephen Byers, the school standards minister, said last Friday that there were a total of 773,820 surplus places in English schools, representing 10 per cent of the total capacity of 7.6 million places.

"The supply of and demand for places must be brought more closely into balance so that parental preference can be maximised and that good quality education can be provided in the most cost-effective manner," he said.

He has asked local authorities for a detailed response on surplus capacity, particularly the 120 failing schools with more than a quarter of their places empty.

Mr Byers said: "Surplus school places represent a poor use of resources, particularly where schools with surplus places are performing poorly."

Figures show 568 secondaries and 2,128 primaries have room for 25 per cent more children.

The minister said that special pleading, for example on behalf of small village schools, would be listened to.

Frances Rafferty

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today