Increase in primary school pupils after baby boom
ONE in six primary schools in North East Lincolnshire are currently oversubscribed – with forecasts predicting another 1,240 pupils needing places in the next four years.
A baby boom is set to see an extra 1,240 primary school pupils by 2016.
But with Department for Education figures showing that nearly 1,515 primary school places went unfilled last year, the area should be able to accommodate the additional number on paper at least.
The news came as the Government released its latest figures on school capacity – including local authority forecasts for how demand for places is set to change between the school years 2010 to 2011 and 2015 to 2016.
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It shows a forecast increase in primary-age children in North East Lincolnshire from 12,027 in 2010/11 to 13,267 in 2015/16 – a rise of 1,240 pupils.
Figures show that seven of the 47 primary schools were full or over capacity last year, while 40 were undersubscribed.
The number of secondary school pupils in North East Lincolnshire is set to drop by 388 from 9,529 in 2010/11 to 9,141 in 2017/18.
Last year, just one of the ten secondary schools in the area was full more than overcapacity, while the remaining nine had a total of 1,590 spare places.
Nationally, the data shows that 3,438 primary schools (20.4 per cent) were full or had pupils in excess of school capacity as of May last year, along with 837 secondary schools (25.4 per cent).
At the same time, across the country there were 444,410 unfilled primary places, with a further 396,240 available in secondary schools – many of these are in rural areas.
The figures come against a background of spending cutbacks and growing numbers of schools becoming academies and so moving outside the control of local education authorities, which have a statutory duty to provide places for children.
A spokesperson for North East Lincolnshire Council said: "Pupil numbers in the primary sector have risen due to an increase in the birth rate.
"North East Lincolnshire has a Strategic Pupil Place Planning Group which meets regularly to consider the live birth data and pupil projections, in order to identify any areas of demand across the Borough.
"There are sufficient places across the Primary and Secondary sectors in North East Lincolnshire Council's schools, however there are some pressure areas that require growth.
"The Department for Education has allocated funding to Local Authorities for basic needs which is to provide additional places where a shortfall has been identified."
Schools Minister Lord Hill said: "We're dealing with the impact of soaring birth rates on primary schools – more than doubling targeted investment at areas facing the greatest pressure on numbers to more than £4 billion in the next four years.
"We are building Free Schools and letting the most popular schools expand to meet demand from parents."