Over 12,000 school classrooms needed by 2022

New research has revealed that an additional 12,835 school classrooms will be needed in England by 2021/2022 in order to meet rising demand.

Scape Group, who published The School Places Challenge 2019 report, says that more than 385,000 additional pupils will enter the primary and secondary school system by 2021, while the school-aged population in England is expected to increase by 5.5 per cent over the same period.

While local authorities across the UK are ‘acutely aware’ of the challenge that they face, their ability to deliver more with less is close to breaking point after years off austerity and rising costs.

With 640 new schools needed across the UK over the next couple of years to meet current projections, the research paper argues that government, local authorities and developers need to make a concerted effort to work collaboratively. It says that if a step change does not take place quickly, the effect on education standards and the wider economy will be felt for generations to come.

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “The current government believes free schools are the answer, but I would argue that this standpoint has been born out of ideological stubbornness, rather than a genuine effort to tackle the school places crisis. Deploying government resources to existing school structures instead would enable local authorities to refurbish and extend current schools to provide additional school places. This would be a much more efficient way of spending taxpayers’ money.”

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