Barking and Dagenham has been awarded £18.3 million to help meet the demand for primary school places.

Out of all 16 London boroughs who received funding, Barking and Dagenham received the largest slice of the £271 million investment from the Government, allocated nationally, to help provide places for primary school children.

The Council put a bid into the Department for Children, Schools and Families, supported by London Councils, who called on the Government to recognise the complexities and scale of the problem in the capital and provide far greater support to help Councils provide places for all their primary school children.

The demand on school places has grown largely due to a significant rise in the birth rate, which has jumped from 2380 births in 2000/01 to 3619 in the year 2007/08.

Over the next three years, to keep pace with this level of expansion, Barking and Dagenham Council plans to create:

5 new Reception classes in September 1010

4 classes for September 2011

7 classes by September 2012

This is the equivalent, over a three year period, of opening a new 3 form entry primary school every year. Projects will be examined to see which ones can be supported and delivered in the timescales up to September 2011.

Cllr Rocky Gill, cabinet member for education and children's wellbeing, said: "This is fantastic news that we have received £18.3 million to help with the demand for primary school places. We have experienced primary school capacity issues and the funding will help to provide more primary school places.

"For some projects it means providing some additional classes to accommodate pupils and for others it is about whole new schools.

"The funding will make a difference to children in the borough who need school places. I'd like to thank MP Jon Cruddas for his hard work on the campaign."