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Immigration Baby Boom: Secondary schools will have an extra HALF A MILLION pupils by 2026


Secondary schools are expected to have more than 500,000 extra pupils in their classrooms by 2026, figures show. Heads face mounting pressure following a baby boom in the early 2000s, which is in the process of making its way from primary to secondary level. This was largely fuelled by increases in immigration and rising birth rates.

Seventeen per cent of secondary schools (560) in England were either ‘at or in excess of capacity’ last May. This compared with 15 per cent (510) in 2018.

Schools were teaching 25,000 more youngsters aged 11 to 18 than they had capacity for in 2019 – a 12 per cent increase from 22,000 in the previous year.

The school capacity figures for 2018-19 were published on the Department for Education website, which provides annual data on the subject.

It forecast an increase of more than 120,000 secondary pupils between 2018-19 and 2019-20.

And secondary pupil numbers are expected to rise each year reaching almost 3.8million by 2025-26, compared with more than 3.2million last year, according to council forecasts.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, told the Times Educational Supplement there was a challenge in dealing with ‘a big demographic change’ as the bulge in pupil numbers moves from primaries to secondaries.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: ‘The baby boom fuelled by a rise in immigration and rising birth rates has now reached secondary schools.

‘Successive governments have been playing catch-up. Preparing for this has now become a matter of urgency.’