Sutton will need the equivalent of two new secondary schools over the next five years to meet the rising number of students, according to Department for Education figures.

Local government chiefs have called on the Government to allow councils like Sutton to build new schools or expand academies in order to avoid a secondary school "emergency".

The latest forecast from the DfE reveals that in five years Sutton will need to increase its secondary school capacity by 13 percent.

While in 2016-17 there were 14 state-funded schools with 20,028 available places for children between 11 and 16 years old, the department estimates that 22,640 students will be in secondary school in 2023-24.

The council will need to open two more schools to accommodate 2,612 new children at that time.

Meanwhile, there are firm plans to deliver 510 places for the 2018-19 academic year, according to the DfE.

But it comes as Harris Academy Sutton, a new £40 million secondary school, is being constructed and is scheduled to be completed by September 2019.

It aims to cater for 1,275 pupils as it forms part of the huge London Cancer Hub regeneration project as pupil intake began this autumn.

England's birth rate went up steeply in the early 2000s, leading councils to add about 600,000 extra places in primary schools since 2010. That birth bulge is now feeding through secondary school.

The Local Government Association said that limitations imposed by the Government will not allow local authorities to do the same in secondary schools, making the shortage worse in many areas.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “Councils need to be given the powers to help solve this crisis. As a starting point, they should be allowed to open new maintained schools and direct academies to expand.

“It makes no sense for councils to be given the responsibility to plan for school places but then not allowed to open schools themselves. It is only by working with councils, rather than shutting them out, that we can meet the challenges.”

Sutton Council has been approached for further comment.

A DfE spokesperson said: “This Government has driven the largest creation in school places in two generations and by 2020, there will be one million more new places across the school system than there were in 2010.

“We are spending £23 billion by 2021 to ensure every child has access to a good school place and since 2010, 43,000 fewer pupils are being taught in overcrowded schools. Our latest admissions data shows that 93.8 percent of children received offers from one of their top three choice of secondary school last year.”

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