Since 2010-11, the total number of pupils in London has increased more than in any region across the country. Between 2010-11 and 2018-19, London saw an increase in pupils of 13.8% across the capital, compared to 8.8% nationally. Boroughs are collectively forecasting that between 2019-20 and 2022-23, the number of new school places needed to meet demand across the capital will increase by 7,553, with 68% of the expected shortfall to be in secondary schools.
However, the picture at primary level is quite different across London. According to borough estimates, London will have 84,384 surplus school places in 2022-23, with 84% of these in primary schools.
The number of surplus places at primary level across London has become a pressing issue in many local authority areas. In part this drop in demand has been driven by declining birth rates across the capital. Between 2012-13 and 2018-19, the number of live births across London decreased by 10%. In comparison the rest of England has experienced a marked drop in the live birth rate four years after London’s birth rate first started to decline.
This means that London’s schools and local authorities are grappling now with reducing capacity in the capital’s primary schools, ahead of the rest of the country. And the pressure is set to continue, with a predicted drop in the 0-4 population across London of over 6,000 between 2020 and 2024.
Boroughs have made considerable efforts to ensure that plans are in place to manage predicted shortfalls and surpluses of demand across London. This is important to be able to ensure that every child has access to a good school place as well as to support schools to mitigate the impact of predicted surplus places.
London Councils will continue to support boroughs to share expertise and intelligence both in terms of their planning and the measures they are taking to meet demand forecasts.
The full report is available to download here.