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Should parents have a say in new school buildings?

Survey finds London parents want to support councils in planning expansion and new schools

Posted by Stephanie Broad | October 27, 2015 | People, policy, politics, money

In one of the first surveys of London parents since the general election, 80% agree that councils should have the final say on the location of new schools within their boundaries.

The poll, carried out by YouGov on behalf of London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London, also revealed that 78% of parents asked support councils influencing schools to expand or find more places.

Key findings from the survey: 

  • Decisions about new schools: 80% agree that councils should have the final say on the location of schools within their boundaries 
  • Free schools: 63% of parents asked by the survey agree that free schools should be set up in areas where local demand exceeds existing school capacity 
  • Location and ethos: These were the two most important factors for parents when deciding their child’s preferred schools and for one in five parents location was the most important factor

Cllr Peter John, London Councils’ Executive member for children, skills and employment, said: “Mums and dads in London are saying that they would welcome the government working more closely with London boroughs to ensure that every new school is built in the best possible location and existing schools are expanded where necessary.

“When you consider that 113,000 additional primary and secondary places will be needed over the next five years, there is a clear demand for intelligent school places planning that uses the expertise of London boroughs.”

The survey also showed that the majority of parents who responded still feel that local authorities should have powers of influence and intervention over academies (67% agreed) and free schools (70% agreed).

Parents were also asked what goals the London education system should be focusing on. The priority for 71% is helping their children to become well-rounded individuals and the second most important factor is good academic achievement relative to ability, with 63% indicating they value this. 

Read the survey findings    

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