Figures showing huge place shortages at primary and secondary level will increase pressure for capital work

A fifth of England’s state primary schools and a quarter of state secondary schools are full or over capacity, official figures have revealed in a move that will put added pressure on the government to act swiftly to address the shortage of school places.

Official statistics released by the Department for Education show that 3,438 of England’s 16,873 state funded primary schools (20.4%) are at or over capacity. At secondary level, 837 of the 3,300 state funded schools (25.4%) are full or over capacity. Overall, this equates to 21% of schools that are full or have more pupils than they officially have places for.

The government has recently introduced some measures to address the shortage of places, particularly at primary level. These included a £600m capital funding package unveiled in the Budget in November, and a £500m package that was allocated to local authorities earlier that month.

Both were aimed at funding expansion in the local authorities worst hit. However, the latest figures will increase pressure for more funding to be diverted towards addressing shortages.

According to the local authorities’ own forecasts, the number of primary pupils is set to increase by 454,800 nationally  between 2010/11 and 2015/16. The number of secondary pupils in state funded schools is set to increase by 44,210 over the same period.