Schools must consider double shifting to accomodate growing pupil numbers

Jun 24, 2015 by

The old ideal of having all students in school from 9am to 3.30pm will soon be unmanageable. Re-organising the school day and year is the only alternative

The latest Department for Education data confirms what headteachers and local authority leaders have been saying for the past few years: we need to re-think how we provide school places.

The growth in immigrants, combined with the baby boom, is putting unprecedented pressure on the school system across the country. There was a 1.3% increase in student numbers (pdf) in state and independent schools in England between January 2014 and 2015. This growth has been most keenly felt in state primary schools, where there has been a 2.1% increase (pdf) in numbers – equivalent to almost 94,000 more children – in the past year.

This has led to super-sized schools, as highlighted in the BBC profile on Gascoigne primary in Barking , the largest primary school in England where the pupil roll totals 1,200. Today, there are 87 primary schools with more than 800 students, compared with 77 in 2014 and 58 in 2013.

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The government has committed to opening 500 new free schools over the next five years to ease pressure. This will go some way to housing the rising number of four-year-olds as we nudge to a UK population of 77 million by 2050, but it won’t go far enough. We will also need to fundamentally re-think the school day and teachers’ working patterns.

Source: Schools must consider double shifting to accomodate growing pupil numbers | Teacher Network | The Guardian

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