25/09/2015

More than 11,000 new primary school classrooms needed by 2024

New research from Scape Group reveals that local authorities need to build the equivalent of 11,200 classrooms and as many as 1,600 new primary schools in the next 9 years, to meet the needs of Britain’s growing primary population.

With the number of primary school pupils in England expected to rise from 4,376,000 in 2015 to 4,658,000 in 2019, local authorities face a fierce challenge against a landscape of tight budget constraints. Our latest research shows that 336,000 extra pupils will require many more new classrooms and school buildings – the equivalent of one new primary school every two days.

Already parents struggle to get their children into their preferred schools and the crisis in school places will only increase if councils don’t act now to increase capacity.

– Simon Reid, Head of Scape Design

London’s boroughs will see the biggest increases in the primary population, and needs to create the equivalent of 2,600 extra 30-pupil classrooms by 2020. Other major cities that will see significant growth are Manchester, which may have to create as many as 53 new primary schools, as well as Leeds and Bristol. Outside of the major cities, Bedfordshire and Berkshire will see the biggest growth.

With up to 1,600 new buildings and thousands of school extensions required by 2019, both the construction industry and the public sector need to do more to address the growing primary population, and work better together to address the school place challenge. Scape Group is calling on the public sector and construction industry to collaborate better, innovate more, and embrace new technologies to deliver the extra capacity, at a time of spending restraint across the public sector.

One of many potential solutions to the growing need for extra classroom space is off-site technology – Scape Groups’ Sunesis and Connect products, for example, provide high-quality permanent school extensions or create entire new schools in record time, and at less than the cost of a traditional school.

Simon Reid, Head of Scape Design, said: It’s clear from our research that both the public and private sectors have a huge task on their hands. Some constituencies will see an increase in pupil numbers of up to a third, and others will need to create hundreds of new classrooms in just a few years’ time. Already parents struggle to get their children into their preferred schools and the crisis in school places will only increase if councils don’t act now to increase capacity.

“As the extra pupils at primary level move towards secondary school, there will be increasing pressure on local authorities to deliver extra secondary school buildings, which are much larger and require extra facilities. As an industry we have a responsibility to get better at collaborating and innovating to meet the needs of the public sector and the communities we all live in – delivering extra capacity quickly and cost-effectively. New technologies will be an essential part of that.

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