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How London’s school ‘ghost areas’ are destroying communities: The Standard podcast

Schools are already closing because they cannot afford to stay open (PA Archive)
Schools are already closing because they cannot afford to stay open (PA Archive)

A headteacher warns school closures are creating “ghost areas” across London and destroying communities as so many families leave the capital.

The Evening Standard’s education editor Anna Davis joins us in the studio after interviewing Helen Connor, executive head of Rhyl Community Primary in Camden, who says London risks “dying from its roots” as growing numbers of families cannot afford to stay in the city.

Connor fears these “ghost areas” - which are populated by workers and students but deserted at weekends - risk spreading out from the centre of the city.

It comes after research revealed 8,000 fewer children will need school places in London over the next four years.

London Councils - the parent body for the capital’s local authorities - blames the fall in demand for school places on a 17 per cent drop in the birth rate, as well as Brexit, the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and lack of affordable housing.

Schools are already closing because they cannot afford to stay open.

Rhyl Community Primary has merged with another school in a bid to stay afloat, but Connor tells the Standard the situation’s has become “desperate and very sad”.

Despite the merger her school still struggled to fill places, and she fears it will only have enough children to make up one of its two reception classes come September.

They’ve also ended most after-school clubs and trips in a bid to balance the books, with Connor saying there’s “nothing more” they can cut.

Plus, on latest the government’s classroom mobile phones crackdown.

Listen above, or wherever you find your podcasts.