Hertfordshire needs 535 new classrooms by 2020

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44 new schools must be built in Hertfordshire within the next four years to accommodate the rising number of young people.

The figures, provided by public sector environmental firm the Scape Group, show that the number of primary school pupils in England will rise by 8.6 per cent by 2020, and the number of secondary school pupils, by 12 per cent.

And that means that nationally two new schools will need to be built every day.

Mark Robinson, chief executive of Scape Group, 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 figures are based upon the Department of Education’s own statistics, which predict an overall 729,000 more students in 2020 than today.

However Mr Robinson admitted that both the government’s education policy, and the referendum vote for Britain to quit the European Union, will both have a huge impact too.

He said: “The government’s preference for free schools has created uncertainty for local authorities, who are tasked with planning and building new schools, but will not be responsible for running them.

“Proposals for new grammar schools has further muddied the waters.

“Leaving the EU could have a profound effect on the UK population – we could see a short-term surge in migration from Europe or a drop-off in numbers if migrants are put off coming here.

“It is very difficult to predict what impact Brexit will ultimately have, putting even more pressure on local authorities who are planning how and where to prioritise school-building.”

He added: “In a post-Brexit economy, with all of the uncertainty this brings, the construction of new schools must be a top priority for government and local authorities must be given the tools and funding necessary to deliver extra places in time.

“Creative solutions including standardised design, classroom extensions and larger ‘super-schools’, are all options we need to look at to deliver more new schools.”

What do you think is the answer to surging numbers of school students? Email thegazette@jpress.co.uk