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Statistics published: Schools, pupils and their characteristics - January 2019

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The Department for Education has published the results of the January 2019 school census.

Key findings

Pupil numbers:

  • There are 84,700 more pupils in the school system than in January 2018
  • State-funded primary schools: an increase of 10,800 more pupils than in January 2018

- numbers have increased every year since 2009, totalling a 16% rise in total

  • State-funded secondary schools: the number of pupils in secondary schools rose for the fifth year in a row, with 69,500 additional pupils from January 2018

- the large increase into secondary matches the growth in primary pupil numbers since 2009, meaning that secondary pupil numbers are expected to increase over the coming years

- secondary pupil numbers have been growing slightly each year since 2014, totalling a 4.6% increase

  • Special schools: an increase of 6,500 pupils.

School numbers and types:

  • There has been an overall increase of seven schools to 24,323 from January 2018 to January 2019

- the increase in overall pupil numbers means that schools are larger on average than in January 2018

  • Since 2009, the average size of primary schools has increased by 43 pupils
  • The average size of secondary schools increased from 946 pupils in 2017 to 965 in 2019
  • Special schools have also been increasing in average size, from 85 in 2007 to 120 in 2019
  • Academies and free schools make up:

- 32% of primary schools

- 75% of secondary schools

  • All-through schools:

- there are now 167 schools that teach both primary and secondary, up from 163 in January 2018.

Free school meals:

  • 15.4% of all pupils were eligible for FSM in January 2019

- 15.8% in primary schools

- 14.1% in secondary schools

- 37.5% in special schools

- 42.5% in pupil referral units

  • This is a significant rise from 13.6% of all pupils in January 2018, particularly given the previously steady decline from 2013. This is due to the changes in legislation around Universal Credit that mean pupils retain their entitlement to FSM even if their circumstances change. 

Ethnic groups and first language:

  • The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic origins has been rising steadily
- 33.5% in primary schools (33.1% in January 2018)

- 31.3% in secondary schools (30.3% in January 2018)

- The proportion of pupils with English as an additional language has been rising steadily

- 21.2% in primary schools (same as January 2018)

- 16.9% in secondary schools (16.6% in January 2018).

About the data:

  • Statistics on pupils in schools in England as collected in the January 2019 school census
  • National and local authority tables can be viewed here.

 Read the full report here.

First published 02 July 2019