At last there is light at the end of the tunnel. New official data published today reveals for the first time when the squeeze on primary school places might finally ease.
The latest projected figures from the Department for Education show that primaries can expect pupil numbers to level out in 2024 after reaching a peak of more than 4.7 million in 2023. That number represents an 8 per cent increase on today’s primary population and will bring to an end 14 years of uninterrupted rises.
Experts have said that primary schools are facing a crisis, with the Local Government Association warning earlier this year that the shortage of places was reaching a “tipping point”.
The government has pledged to provide a further £5 billion to create additional places to meet demand, but the LGA has claimed that this still leaves councils with a shortfall.
But the rise will continue beyond 2024 for secondary schools as the bulge in pupil numbers makes its way through the school system.
According to the DfE, all regions of the country can expect increased secondary pupil numbers by 2017. But in London, where the pressure on places is most intense, secondary numbers are already growing.