“The Government’s determination to create a ‘market’ for education through the introduction of free schools and the expansion of the academy programme and grammar schools has undermined the ability of local authorities to carry out one of their most important functions – the planning and provision of school places. Free schools have created chaos, with a surplus of school places in some areas and insufficient places elsewhere. Councils can no longer open maintained schools where there is a clear need for new places nor direct academies or free schools to expand where they have capacity.

“The NEU shares the concerns of the LGA that we face a secondary school places emergency unless the Government sees sense and gives councils the powers to open schools or direct academies and free schools to expand.

“Every child has a right to attend a good local school. It is Government’s responsibility to ensure Councils have the powers at their disposal to enable them to do so.”