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Tue September 25 2018

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More than 14,500 secondary school classrooms need to be built by 2020

14 Dec 17 Scape Group, the public sector procurement specialist, has calculated that more than 14,500 additional secondary school classrooms need to be built in the UK over the next three years to meet the growth in pupil numbers.

Nearly half a million children will start secondary school in 2020
Nearly half a million children will start secondary school in 2020

An additional 435,646 pupils will be joining the UK’s secondary school system in 2020 and a lot of construction work is going to be needed to make room for them all, Scape says.

To meet the challenge, Scape recommends modular construction techniques to build schools that are three or four storeys high.

Scape’s report, The Secondary School Places Challenge1, shows that most of the building work is needed in England, where an additional 13,337 classrooms are needed. Only 527 extra classrooms are required in Scotland, 340 in Wales and 318 in Northern Ireland, to meet the projected growth in secondary school pupils.

Country

Number of extra secondary school pupils by 20/21

All Pupils % growth

Equivalent number of secondary school classrooms

Equivalent number of secondary schools

England

400,097

13

13,337

381

Scotland

15,800

5.7

527

15

Wales

10,200

6.5

340

9

Northern Ireland

9,549

13

318

9

United Kingdom

435,646

9.5

14,522

414

Scape Group chief executive Mark Robinson said: “Secondary school pupil numbers are set to rise significantly and there is a real risk that if we do not increase the output of new secondary school classrooms there will be significant pressure on places across the UK. Such is the scale of the projected increase in secondary school pupils that the government should now seek to develop a national school building strategy that brings together the Department of Education, local and regional government, and industry. We must ensure there is a joined-up approach that embraces modern methods of construction such as modular and offsite techniques, which can deliver schools quickly and cost-effectively.” 

London will see the biggest increase in secondary school pupil numbers in the UK, with a 15.5% rise in numbers expected by 2020. This is the equivalent of 2,500 classrooms, or 73 schools. The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham is set to see an increase of 40% in secondary pupil numbers by 2020, the highest in the country.

Outside of London, Manchester City Council is forecast to see the biggest percentage increase, with secondary school pupil numbers forecast to increase by 35% in the next three years. This is the equivalent of 321 additional classrooms.

Regions

Number of extra secondary school places required by 20/21

All Pupils % growth

Number of secondary school classrooms needed

Number of secondary schools needed

London

76,299

15.5

2,543

73

West Midlands

47,251

13.3

1,575

45

East of England

47,882

13.0

1,596

46

South West

36,580

12.0

1,219

35

South East

59,570

11.9

1,986

57

North West

49,186

11.8

1,640

47

East Midlands

32,116

11.6

1,071

31

Yorkshire and the Humber

35,392

11.1

1,180

34

North East

15,821

11.0

527

15

Fastest growing UK local authorities by secondary pupil percentage growth

Number of extra secondary school places required by 2020/21

All Pupils % growth

Number of secondary school classrooms needed1

Number of secondary schools needed1

Barking and Dagenham

5,933

39.9

198

6

Manchester

9,627

35.4

321

9

Greenwich

3,861

26.5

129

4

Slough

2,961

25.8

99

3

Reading

1,887

25.6

63

2

Leicester

4,680

24.6

156

4

Bracknell Forest

1,684

23.9

56

2

Newham

5,081

23.4

169

5

Southampton

2,286

22.4

76

2

Stockton-On-Tees

2,359

22.0

79

2

Fran Cox, operations director at school building specialist Sunesis, said: “It currently takes far too long to secure planning for new schools and, with the equivalent of 14,522 classrooms required by 2020, we are running out of time to ensure pupils will have a sufficient space in which to learn. The government should look at ways to speed-up decisions on school building. Commitment to offsite or modular construction is an obvious way in which government can help tackle this school places challenge, as it offers clear timescales for delivery, flexibility and certainty of cost for both school extensions and new schools. ”   

1. The Scape report, The Secondary School Places Challenge, can be downloaded from www.scapegroup.co.uk/research

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