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More than 2,000 new schools 'needed by 2020'

21/10/2016 Joanna

A new report has called for a commitment to an extensive programme of new school construction in order to better meet rising demand for primary and secondary school places.

Published by the public sector-owned built environment specialist Scape Group, the School Places Challenge report has forecast that 2,122 new schools will be needed within the next four years, which is equivalent to 12,209 primary and 12,078 secondary classrooms.

This is because local authorities are expecting an additional 729,000 pupils in education by 2020, marking a rise of 8.6 per cent in primary school pupils and 12 per cent in secondary school pupils in England alone.

London, the south-east and east of England are experiencing the highest growth, with more than 375,000 additional primary and secondary pupils expected to be added to their registers between now and 2020.

To account for this, the report stated that the equivalent of two new schools should be created each working day for the next four years, with around one-quarter of the total - or 507 schools - needed in London.

Other regions where new school-building should be prioritised include Manchester - where pupil numbers are expected to grow by 27 per cent - as well as Bristol, Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Leicester and Nottingham.

The report also underlined the importance of embracing innovative new models of school design to maximise the efficiency of the process.

Mark Robinson, chief executive of Scape Group, said: "The construction of new schools must be a top priority for government, and local authorities must be given the tools and funding necessary to deliver extra places in time.

"Creative solutions including standardised design, classroom extensions and larger super-schools, as well as more effective use of land to deliver mixed-use developments, are all options we need to look at to deliver more new schools."

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