Primary places amounting to the equivalent of hundreds of schools will be unfilled over the next three years if current population trends continue, a Tes investigation can reveal.
Analysis of Department for Education data shows that as a population “bulge” from the 2000s moves up into secondary schools, primary school enrolments will fall by around 100,000 pupils by 2022.
Primary heads warn of serious repercussions at school level, including:
• Schools being financially stretched to “breaking point”, with squeezed budgets – through less funding per pupil – exacerbated by the school funding crisis
• School closures
• Teacher and support staff redundancies
• Bigger class sizes as schools compress year groups of three or four forms into fewer classes to cut costs
Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, warned that a fall in numbers could quickly plunge schools into crisis.
“They are expecting fewer pupils in coming years but, particularly in smaller or less popular schools, this drop in numbers can be very sudden.
“It means schools are unable to accurately predict their budgets for the coming year, and cannot plan accordingly. Set against a backdrop of the school funding crisis, this means schools can go from just about managing to breaking point almost overnight.”
Read the full article Exclusive: Birth rate pushes primaries to the edge
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