Schools in Birmingham are struggling to cope with an increase in the number of pupils caused partly by the recession, according to Children’s Secretary Ed Balls.
Parents who would usually be expected to send their child to a fee-paying school are sticking with the state sector instead in order to save money, he said.
And couples who might have moved out of a big city once they start a family are staying put, because the housing marker is in disarray.
The result is that schools are facing an increase in the number of children expected to start primary school next year.
Mr Balls announced he was awarding Birmingham an extra £24 million to help provide new teachers and classrooms. The money is expected to provide places for more than 1,000 pupils.
The city is receiving the largest share of a £270 million package for councils across the country to help them cope with rising pupil numbers. Coventry is to receive £7.4 million.
The Children’s Secretary said a rising birth rate and immigration had also added to pressures on school places.
He said: “These are issues, but local authorities had already factored them in when they were predicting pupil numbers.
“What has happened is that the numbers are higher than expected, and I believe that is partly down to the economic situation.
“Some local authorities expected people to move out, which is what sometimes happen with young families.
“But it hasn’t happened, because of the credit crunch.
“And people who might have been expected to go to a fee-paying school have opted for state provision instead.”
The cash is aimed specifically at coping with increasing numbers of four and five-year-olds entering the education system.
Mr Balls also announced the creation of new “national challenge trust schools”, which are designed to replace schools with poor results.
The new schools include George Eliot School Community School in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, which is to be re-opened as a trust school.
George Eliot has met the Government’s target of 30 per cent of pupils obtaining five GCSEs at grades A to C. But despite this, the local authority chose to create a new trust school, saying it would help the school continue to improve.
The new trust school will be managed in partnership with a local further education college.