By 2018, more than half a million extra pupils will be heading off to school
Primary school places for 549,000 extra school pupils – or 2,300 primary schools – will be required in the next eight years because of a huge increase in numbers, reports the Telegraph.
The figures are projections published yesterday by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Right now, there are 3,992,000 school children under 11 in state-funded nursery and primary school. By 2018, it’s expected to be 4,541,000 – the largest number of pupils since the late 1970s. That’s equivalent of 18,300 extra classes, of 30 students each.
The increase is thought be because of a big increase in birthrates combined with immigration.
Last year, in London alone there was a shortfall of about 2,250 school places.
Over the past 10 years, hundreds of primary schools have reportedly been shut because of the number of empty desks. “We have said for a long time that it is short-sighted of the Government to close any school premises,” said Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers.
“The school population always will and always has fluctuated,” said the Schools Minister, Vernon Coaker.
“Birthrates have been rising since 2001 so it’s no surprise that projected nursery and primary numbers are now going up, while secondary numbers are actually now going down – reversing the trend of the last decade.
“By law it is for local authorities to assess future population growth robustly to fully meet parental demand.
“The bottom line there is no nationwide shortage of places in primary schools – with half a million surplus places across the country.”
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