Commenting on national pupil projection data published today by the Department for Education, Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT says: “Today’s data confirms that pupil numbers are rising with over four and a half million children in primary and over three million children in secondary schools by 2025. We are already seeing that, in certain areas of the country, parents are not able to get their children into their first choice school. The massive increase in pupil numbers over the next few years will make this even harder.
“Under the government’s education plans, local authorities will have all the responsibility for ensuring adequate school places, but none of the powers or funding necessary to do so.
“We are looking at over 750,000 more young people in school education by 2025. The government’s only clear plan for increasing capacity is to open 500 Free Schools. Whilst good, new free schools are fine, they are not sufficient.
“Integrated local planning of school places across maintained, academy and free schools is vital. New schools and new places in all sectors have to be commissioned in the areas they are most needed. National figures do not reflect the reality of many communities, especially in the poorest areas of the country.
“Until some agency at the local or regional level has the information and the clout to prioritise school places where they are most needed, parents and children will always be unsure that the system will give them what they want.
"The government will also need to take teacher recruitment and retention more seriously. Currently, a quarter of new teachers quit after three years in the job – that’s a worrying trend that can only be reversed with higher pay and better training."
Page Published: 14/07/2016