THE maths simply does not add up.

The number of children needing a school place should equal the number of school places available.

With a few spare.

But worryingly Essex County Council’s forecast show there is a deficit between the number of school places - both in primary and secondary schools - and the children who need one.

The county council tries to reassure by saying pupils can go to the next nearest school with capacity.

But where will that be?

It could mean some children travelling for miles each day and that, frankly, is not good enough.

There are enough data analysts producing population forecasts to have foreseen this situation.

The level of Colchester’s population growth has been widely reported and the number of new houses being built has continued steadily for years.

So how has this situation arisen?

Certainly, the county council has invested millions of pounds to build new schools and expand existing ones. But, then again, it has a statutory duty to ensure all children are educated.

The crisis points are for the reception classes and Year 7.

Parents will have every right to be angry if they are expected to take their four-year-old to a school several miles away because there are no closer vacancies.

And then we get to putting 11-year-olds on buses to travel miles to school.

Time for the council to do some serious thinking of how to square the circle by next year.