Education at secondary schools in Richmond is suffering because of a chronic shortage of classrooms, a leaked report has revealed.

The internal document, which has been obtained by the Surrey Comet , reveals serious deficiencies in all eight secondary schools, that are affecting their ability to fully deliver specialist areas of the curriculum.

The Local Education Authority report is based on a survey of conditions at its secondary schools and identifies a severe shortage of classrooms for art, music, drama, technology and science.

It was produced to give the LEA an indication of the levels of investment needed to bring its schools up to standard, to assess the work required and identify where additional secondary places could be created in the future, as part of its Private Finance Initiative bid.

Crippling repair bills have forced the council to turn to the private sector to raise the money it needs to invest in its secondary schools.

At Hampton Community College, the report identifies that there are significant problems in 41 of the schools curriculum teaching areas, which inhibit teaching methodology, particularly in music, technology, drama and PE.

Similarly, at Shene School and Whitton School the report states that the shortage of classrooms is having an impact on the teaching of subjects such as IT and technology.

Faults were also found in the ageing school buildings, with many requiring immediate repairs.

Conservative education spokesman Councillor Geoffrey Samuel said the council was deceiving parents about conditions in its secondary schools by concealing the information set out in the document.

He said: "Parents are now in the process of choosing secondary schools for their children, unaware of the fact that there are fundamental deficiencies. They have a right to know."

The PFI scheme will be phased over something like 10 years. The school at the end of the scheme won't see much improvement for between five and 10 years, so pupils will have finished their school career.

Richmond Council stressed that the report was a discussion document and the issues identified were currently being verified with the schools.

A spokesman said: "Changes in the curriculum in recent years have meant that many schools nationally have some accommodation that is not wholly suitable for the purpose for which it is being used."

Councillor Stephen Knight, executive member for education, said the council had limited resources to invest in its secondary schools and had never disputed that there were problems.

He said: "There is no cover up on this. We have been talking to governing bodies and head teachers, and we will be talking to parents as well."

Helen Barnes