DfE cuts projections for growth in pupil numbers

Bulge in secondary school numbers set to continue until about 2025

Martin George

pupil numbers, projections, bulge, primary, secondary, DfE

The DfE has cut its projections for the number of pupils in England’s schools in future years owing to a lower birth rate.

The bulge in the secondary school population that is currently working its way through the system is set continue until about 2025, according to figures published today.

Last year, the DfE had said the rise would continue until 2026. Today's report also lowers primary projections for the next decade.

"“The 2018 national pupil projections, compared to those produced in 2017, are forecasting a lower increase in the pupil population over the nine years of the projection," it says.

"This is most notable at primary and nursery level. In 2017 we were projecting an increase of around 102,000 in the primary and nursery school population over the projection period, to 4.68 million by 2026."

“This year, however, the projection estimates there will be a decrease of 112,000 between 2018 and 2027, to 4.52 million. This is because of lower projected births which then feed into lower numbers starting school.”

The figures show there are 7.6 million children in state-funded schools in 2018. This figure is expected to peak at 7,968,000 in 2024, before dropping to 7,919,000 in 2027.

The nursery and primary school population has been rising since 2009, hitting 4.64 million this year. However, the report says that after reaching 4.66 million next year, it will start to fall.

The secondary school population rose to 2.85 million in 2018, and the report says it is “projected to continue increasing until around 2025, reaching an estimated 3.28 million”.

It is set to remain at this level in 2026, before falling to 3.27 million the following year.


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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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