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Council denies ‘squeeze’ on primary school places

The borough is one of only two in London expecting to see substantial growth in the number of primary school students by 2026

Waltham Forest Council has denied the borough is facing a “squeeze” on primary school places ahead of the admissions deadline this month. 

A report by London Councils shows the borough is one of only two in London expecting to see substantial growth in the number of primary students by 2026, with the rest of the city predicting a sharp drop.

Earlier this month, education software specialist The Access Group claimed Waltham Forest will be the “most squeezed” London borough for primary school spaces this year, alleging there will be almost 60 new students for each of the borough’s 66 primary schools. 

Their data assumes more than 3,900 local children will enter local primary schools this year, based on the number of toddlers recorded in the borough in 2021 by the most recent Census.

Asked to comment, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people Alistair Strathern says the council “does not recognise the data provided”, adding: “It is simply not accurate to suggest there is a squeeze – our regular forecasts of pupil places continue to show we have more than enough places to meet pupil demand.

“We are proud that Waltham Forest has consistently been one of the better boroughs in London at meeting parents’ choice of school for their children. In 2022 we offered 90.7 per cent of children their first preference of primary school, compared to the London average of 87.9 per cent. 

“This is thanks to the great collaborative working relationship our admissions team have built with the wide range of Good and Outstanding primary schools parents have to choose from in the borough.”