London’s school-age population expected to jump 100,000 by 2017

Nov 8, 2013 by

Richard Adams – Some parts of London will see rise of more than 50% in number of children aged 4-10, say officials

London‘s primary schools will come under increasing strain as the capital’s school-age population jumps by nearly 100,000 between now and 2017, according to new projections by the Greater London Authority.

Several parts of London will see increases of 50% and more in the number of children aged between four and 10, as new housing developments, the recent baby boom and inflows from outside the city add to the rapid growth.

Colindale in north London will see some of the biggest growth, based on the projections by demographers in the GLA’s intelligence unit. It will see a 59% growth in children of primary school age by 2017 – a rise of more than 1,000 in a single ward, the equivalent of four average-sized primary schools in the space of five years.

London schools map Change in population aged 4-10 in London. Click here for the full interactive map

But the hotspots of rapid growth are spread throughout London. The Botwell ward in Hillingdon borough – to the north of Heathrow – is projected to see a rise of more than 1,000, while the number of young children in the Peninsula ward in Greenwich to the south-east is likely to increase by 73%.

Merton borough in south London will also see sustained rises in the numbers of children, with the Colliers Wood suburb forecast for an increase of 61%. The boroughs of Croydon, Waltham Forest, Newham and Hounslow are also most likely to see increased competition for primary school places.

The unpublished figures come from data used to compile the London Schools Atlas, an innovative online resource launched by the GLA on Thursday that allows parents to search for schools and see which parts of the city will see the most growth in school-age numbers.

According to the GLA’s figures, this year there were 696,105 children enrolled in state-funded primary schools in London. That number could rise to 801,000 in 2017, although not all of them may enrol.

With more than 90% of London pupils attending a primary school in their home local authority, the projections show the scale of the challenge that London boroughs face in expanding schools and classrooms to cope with the expected influx.

The projections confirm estimates by the office of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, that demographic pressure means an extra 4,000 primary classes will be needed in the capital within the next seven years.

“The mayor wants to see councils, communities and parents set up new academies and free schools to meet this challenge. The school atlas is an important tool in providing the information to do that,” a GLA spokesman said.

The rapid rise in the birthrate – at the fastest rate since the 1950s – will see similar pressures felt throughout the UK, especially in large urban centres such as Manchester, Bristol and Slough.

Last month the Local Government Association said as many as two in three councils in England could have more parents looking for primary school places in September 2016 than they have places available.

The Department for Education has set aside £5bn for extra school places, but its policies mean the only new schools that can be opened are academies and free schools.

In London parents are able to apply for places in schools across borough borders, with the new school atlas providing a detailed guide to schools in their area.

The map-based application allows users to zoom in on specific areas and see where individual state schools draw their pupils from, as well as showing a school’s academic record and features.

Launching the guide, Johnson said the London Schools Atlas would be an authoritative resource “for anyone concerned about education and seeking to understand the challenges of pupil numbers and places.

“This important new tool means that, for the first time, a range of information and data about school numbers, location, catchment areas and attainment is available in a way that is easy to use and to interpret.”

The guide draws on the national pupil database for locations, and birth statistics, the census, planning applications and council figures to construct the population projections.

Not all wards in London will experience a rise in the numbers of children. The King’s Cross ward in Camden is forecast to have a 20% drop, partly as a result of new office construction and change in housing around the railway station.

via London’s school-age population expected to jump 100,000 by 2017 | Education |

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