More than 24,000 classrooms required to keep up with rising population of school-age children

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Over 2,000 new schools will need to be built by 2020 to keep up with the booming population of school-age children, according to research from Scape.

The research found that the equivalent of 24,287 classrooms or 2,122 new schools must be built before 2020 to meet the growing numbers of primary and secondary school pupils.

It comes after local authorities estimated there will be an additional 729,000 primary and secondary school pupils by 2020.

The number of primary school pupils in England it set to rise 8.6% by 2020, with the number of secondary school pupils set to increase 12% by 2020.

Commenting the demand for school places, Willmott Dixon education director Andrew Alsbury said the issue is one of construction’s “biggest challenges over the next decade.”

But he added: “There is much intellectual capital across the industry currently focused on meeting this challenge and this diversity of stakeholders is a key strength… We can provide the quality school environments needed to meet the predicted rise in demand.”

Kier’s strategic framework alliances managing director, Neil Pates, said the issue was an “increasing priority” for government and local authorities and said off-site modular systems would be key to delivering the required number of schools.

Across England, the research finds that local authorities will have to find space for the equivalent of 12,209 additional primary classrooms, which equates to 1,744 single form entry primary schools.

A further 12,078 secondary classrooms or 378 new secondary schools will be needed to match the rising numbers.

Scape chief executive Mark Robinson said: “The country will soon start to feel the full weight of the impending boom in pupil numbers, and we’re already seeing unprecedented pressure on school places.

“A radical new wave of school-building must be a top priority for government.”

The research estimates London will be the most in need of new schools as the capital will require 507 new schools by 2020 to accommodate an additional 170,943 pupils.

In the south east, 347 extra schools will be needed while over 200 new schools will also be needed in the east, in west midlands and the North West.