Responding to an announcement by the Department for Education to create more school places for families, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“It is good the Department for Education wants to work with councils to create new faith schools where they are needed, but we are clear that the current limit of 50 per cent selection by faith criteria should remain in place.
“Government should also not just focus exclusively on selective, faith schools and free schools. The most effective way to set up new schools and meet the demand for school places would be to give councils the powers and funding to open new council-maintained schools where there is a need for additional places.
“Over recent years councils have created an extra 600,000 new school places while nine in 10 council-maintained schools are rated as good or outstanding. This is a demonstrable record that they are doing everything they can to rise to the challenge of ensuring every child has a school place and receives an excellent education.
“Yet councils are in many ways operating with one hand tied behind their backs. It makes no sense for councils to be given the responsibility to plan for school places but then not allowed to open schools themselves.”