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Hundreds of families move from London into Wolverhampton leaving schools stretched

By Jessica Labhart | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Hundreds of children and their families are moving from London to Wolverhampton and putting pressure on schools, it has been revealed.

Wolverhampton city centre

The families are being directed to the city by authorities in London because of a lack of social housing in the capital.

But senior members at Wolverhampton Council say the issue is putting an extra burden on the city, especially in schools where class sizes are on the increase.

The news comes as earlier this week it was announced that eight schools in the city are set to expand in the city at a cost of £34.3 million in order to meet extra demand for places.

Opposition councillors have raised the issue, saying councils in London boroughs have a duty and responsibility to residents to help them with financial difficulties.

Councillor Wendy Thompson, leader of the Conservative group said families are being directed to Wolverhampton from local authority areas including Brent, Kensington and Chelsea, Hackney and at least five other areas.

She says housing worker in London authorities are advising those in need of housing of the cheaper cost of living in Wolverhampton.

Once they arrive, parents are contacting the local authority to try and get their children school places.

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The issue was discussed at a meeting of full council this week.

Councillor Thompson, said: "Children have to have school places.

"However, the issue is that we have had families now flowing into the city from London to escape rising housing costs there.

"This brings with it extra costs that we have to pay for as a local authority as well as responsibilities to provide children with a school place.

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"Because it is cheaper to live in Wolverhampton, families have been making the move, but the London borough councils must be reminded of their duty of care for these people."

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Thompson said that the arrival of additional families also put pressure on other services including doctors' surgeries, social services and others.

Councillor Claire Darke, Labour's cabinet member for education in the city said: "As soon as a child moves into this city, they become our responsibility.

"I would welcome any family and child into this city. It is disruptive enough to have children move out of the homes they know and are used to but to then have them move into a city that does not welcome them, well that is not acceptable.

"It is because of this government that we have had to suffer the cuts and changes to the education system, and we have to make sure that every child in this city are provided with an education which is their right."

Jessica Labhart

By Jessica Labhart
@JLabhart_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton.

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