Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Councillor Rocky Gill has written to Mr Osborne to bring the Chancellor up to date on the desperate situation facing Barking and Dagenham - reiterating the council’s call for extra funding to ensure the borough’s youngsters are able to close the achievement gap between poorer and better off young people.
Councillor Gill in his letter thanked the Chancellor for funding received so far but warned that forecasts indicate that the Council requires £50 million a year for the next 10 years to meet its statutory duty to provide a school place for every child.
Councillor Gill said: “People are moving to Barking and Dagenham, not just because of affordable accommodation but because parents see the rapid progress our schools are making and want their children to enjoy the benefits of a borough education.
“We have a projected continuing growth of demand for school places which is unprecedented in the last 40 years. This growth exceeds our school place capacity in all ages but we have to fulfil our statutory obligation to provide a school place for every child in the borough.”
So far in Barking and Dagenham, we have extended existing schools, built on playgrounds and sports fields and converted office blocks into schools and temporary classrooms. The borough has seen a 50 per cent growth in 0 - 4 year olds since the last census.
Councillor Gill ends by inviting the Chancellor to the borough to see firsthand for himself when he says: “I am sure that you will agree that providing quality school places for one of the most deprived boroughs in the country is important in order to close the achievement gap between poorer and better off young people.
“My offer to you to visit the borough remains open. I am absolutely committed to securing the best possible outcomes for all of the young people in Barking and Dagenham and will work with the Treasury and DfE officials to find potential solutions to the challenges we face.”