New school needed every two days, says Scape Group

Local authorities will need to build the equivalent of 11,200 classrooms and as many as 1,600 new primary schools in the next nine years, to meet the needs of Britain’s growing primary population, according to research from Scape Group.

The study revealed that more than 11,000 new primary school classrooms will be needed by 2024 with 336,000 extra primary school pupils forecast. A new school will need to be created every two days to meet the shortfall.

With the number of primary school pupils in England expected to rise from 4,376,000 in 2015 to 4,658,000 in 2019, Scape Group said local authorities face a fierce challenge against a landscape of tight budget constraints.

London’s boroughs will see the biggest increases in the primary population, with the number of pupils set to increase by 146,000 between 2015 and 2020 and accounting for a quarter of extra pupils nationally. London therefore needs to create 78,275 new primary school places before 2020 – the equivalent of 2,600 extra 30-pupil classrooms.

Other major cities in the north will also see significant growth in primary pupil numbers, with Manchester set to see a 26% rise in its primary population by 2019, the equivalent of 370 new classrooms.

One potential solution put forward to cope with the growing need for extra classroom space is off-site technology.

“Economies of scale and advances in design have made it possible to add high-quality permanent school extensions or create entire new schools in record time, and at a third of the cost of a traditional school,” the organisation said.

‘Sunesis’, a joint venture between Scape Group and contractor Willmott Dixon, is designed to provide an entire school made off-site, which can house between 200 and 600 primary school pupils. Scape Group also said it provides classroom extensions that can be added on to existing schools or stand separate from the main building.