Councils will have to build up to 1,600 new primary schools in the next nine years to cope with the UK’s growing population, according to new research from Scape Group
The research by the procurement giant found that the number of primary school pupils is expected to grow by 8 per cent by 2024, from 4,376,000 to 4,712,000, amounting to the equivalent of 11,200 new classrooms.
London councils are predicted to have the most demand, with the capital expected to account for a quarter of all extra pupils.
The biggest leap in pupil numbers is forecast to come ahead of the 2018/19 school year.
Scape estimates that the London Borough of Newham alone will need 41 new primary schools by 2018, while Croydon will need to build 33 and Greenwich 30.
Outside London, Manchester and Leeds will need the most extra schools, with an estimated 53 and 44 required respectively.
Scape said the figures showed that councils and contractors needed to act quickly and use new, more efficient building technologies to address a potential shortage of classrooms.
‘It is clear from our research that both the public and private sectors have a huge task on their hands,’ said Scape head of design Simon Reid.
‘Already parents struggle to get their children into their preferred schools and the crisis in school places will only increase if councils don’t act now to increase capacity.
‘As the extra pupils at primary level move towards secondary school, there will be increasing pressure on local authorities to deliver extra secondary school buildings, which are much larger and require extra facilities.
‘As an industry, we have a responsibility to get better at collaborating and innovating to meet the needs of the public sector and the communities we all live in – delivering extra capacity quickly and cost effectively. New technologies will be an essential part of that.’