Secondary school admissions set to rise by 20 per cent

The increase in secondary school pupil numbers is primarily down to the increase in UK birth rate since 2002, although migration has also played a part.

Nearly 3.3 million pupils are expected to be attending state-funded secondaries by 2024, which is the highest number in 20 years. Primary schools are not expected to face such a steep rise, with a predicted increase of just eight per cent by 2024.

A DfE spokesman said: "We want every parent to have access to a good school place for their child.

"Despite rising pupil numbers, 95 per cent of parents received an offer at one of their three preferred schools.

"But we recognise that as the population grows, the demand for new school places increases.

"That is why we doubled the funding for school places to £5 billion in the last Parliament, which has helped create almost 500,000 new school places.

"A further £7 billion has already been committed to create even more places over the next six years."

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “The number of children in education is still rising but the government lacks a coherent plan. Some schools are already stretched to their limits.

“The current system is fragmented and free schools are an inefficient and insufficient way of meeting the numbers. NAHT believes that some local agency should have the strategic role in the planning of places, able to commission new schools and places in both the academy and maintained sectors.

“Schools are also running low on money. The government is not taking account of pensions, national insurance, cost of living, increments, living wages and – crucially – the cost to schools of picking up on cuts to other public services. An increase in pupil numbers is an added pressure on schools at a very difficult time."

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