Report predicts surge in demand for school places across county


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Cambridgeshire will need to find thousands more school places in the coming years, according to national figures.

A report issued by the Education and Skills Funding Agency showed there is predicted to be large growth within the county, with more than 12,000 school places needed by 2021.

The report showed that capacity is set to increase from 31,811 (2016/17) to 37,774 by 2021/22 in state-funded secondary schools.

In state-funded primary schools it is predicted that the amount of places needed will increase from 49,808 to 57,474 by 2021/22.

The news comes as the increase in primary school pupil numbers starts to affect the secondary school sector.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency report says: “The rate of increase in the forecast number of secondary school pupil’s increases through to 2019/20, with over 116,000 pupils forecast to be added between 2018/19 to 2019/20.

“Beyond that, there is still strong growth, but declining to an increase of around 70,000 pupils between 2022/23 and 2023/24.”

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The report predicts that extra 79,000 primary places will be needed across England in the next three years, and an additional 87,000 places needed in secondary schools.

Of the 207 state-funded primary schools Cambridgeshire, 37 of those are full or have one or more pupils in excess.

Of the 33 state-funded secondary schools, there are four that are described as full, with about 142 pupils in excess of capacity.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “It is the council’s statutory duty to provide a school place for every child living in the county whose parents want them educated in the state-funded sector.

“We have a comprehensive strategy in place for addressing the challenges brought by a fast growing county to ensure there are sufficient school places to meet current and forecast need. This includes expanding existing schools and building new ones.

“All children in Huntingdonshire who require either a primary or secondary school place in 2018/19 will have one.”

In September the county council will be opening a new school in St Neots, which is the first of a number of primary schools planned on the St Neots eastern expansion development area.