DfE releases pupil number projections

The DfE has published its report on the future projections for pupil numbers up to 2026

A statistical report – entitled National pupil predictions – future trends in pupil numbers: July 2018 – by the Department for Education (DfE) has been released, and outlines the ways in which pupil volumes are expected to change over the next nine years.

The report shows that nursery and primary school populations have been rising since 2009, reaching 4.64 million this year. The rate of increase has actually slowed, however, due to lower birth numbers in 2013. It’s projected that the population of these schools will stabilise next year at 4.66 million before beginning to fall.

The secondary school population, however, rose to 2.85 million in 2018 and is expected to continue increasing until 2015 – reaching approximately 3.28 million. This is an increase of around 418,000 pupils.

The largest age group currently attending state schools across the country is the five-to-10 group. They reached 3.90 million in 2018 and are expected to rise to 3.95 million by 2021, before a projected decrease.

This year there were 2.84 million 11-15 year-olds attending state schools, which is projected to rise to 3.22 million by 2023.

Despite the steep rises, 2018’s national pupil projections are actually forecasting a lower increase than 2017’s expectations. In 2017, the government projected an increase of 102,000 in the primary and nursery school populations by 2026 – this year’s prediction, however, anticipates a decrease of 112,000 between 2018 and 2027.

The report also outlines details of the effect of immigration on these statistics. While direct immigration’s effect makes a very minor difference, the birth rate for non-UK born women – which tends to be higher than the UK average – is expected to impact future school populations. This has been factored into the projections.

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