Secondary school pupil numbers to rise by 418,000 in next nine years


Pupil numbers in the UK are set to climb by 418,000 by 2027, according to new forecasts from the Department for Education.

Secondary school pupil numbers are predicted to reach 3.3 million in nine years, up from 2.8 million in the current school year – a jump of 14.7%.

Caused by a dramatic rise in birth rates in the early 2000s, the vast majority of these pupils are now at an age where they move from primary to secondary schools.

This is expected to increase demand for secondary school teachers until the population spurt begins to level off in secondary schools in 2025.

Primary schools meanwhile will see pupil numbers fall, as there have been notably fewer births since 2013, meaning primary school cohorts will be smaller.

When compared to last year, primary school pupil numbers rose by 1.1%, a rise of just over 50,000 youngsters.

Whereas there were 4,583,000 pupils in primary and nursery schools last year, that number has now climbed to 4,635,000.

But, the Department for Education predicts that there will be 112,000 fewer primary school pupils in 2027, with numbers gradually falling year on year.

The report also notes that immigration has had a very limited impact on school pupil numbers, although it does suggest that the number of children born to non-UK born women has increased.

The number of children attending state-run schools in the UK has risen since 2010 and is expected to continue doing so until 2024.

However, the rate of increase is expected to gradually slow from 2019, while the overall UK population is set to decrease until 2027.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the figures represent a “challenge” to ensure there are enough school places and sufficient numbers of teachers.

The Department of Education has reported that there will be one million more school places in 2020 than there were in 2020 as part of efforts to address the rise in pupil numbers.