EDUCATION chiefs are seeking to allay fears that South Tyneside will not have enough primary school places in the next few years.
The Local Government Association claims that as many as two out of three councils nationwide face not having enough places to accommodate the numbers of children looking to start primary school by September 2016.
South Tyneside Council’s lead member for children, young people and families, Coun Joan Atkinson, said: “During the period in question, our pupil projections do not highlight any significant pressure on places.
“South Tyneside is a relatively compact borough, and overall, the supply of places is greater than demand in all areas until at least 2018.
“Officers track projections annually, and should pressures become evident in the future, these will be addressed.”
The association reports that some schools are already having to convert spaces such as music rooms and libraries into classrooms and others have been forced to site temporary buildings on playgrounds.
David Simmonds, chairman of its children and young people board, said: “Mums and dads quite rightly expect their child to have access to a place in a good school that is nearby and in a good state of repair.
“But councils are facing unprecedented pressures in tackling the desperate shortage of new school places.
“Councils across the country have been increasing places by expanding schools where possible through additional classes or new buildings.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove has also dismissed the association’s findings.
He said: “We haven’t had what Labour predicted, which are problems with primary school places, even though they were the people who failed to invest in primary schools last time around.”