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3,200 new primary schools needed for growing population

According to the Department for Education, the equivalent of more than 3,200 new primary schools will be needed by the end of the decade as the pupil population soars to a 50-year high.

Over populating Earth

According to the Department for Education, the equivalent of more than 3,200 new primary schools will be needed by the end of the decade as the pupil population soars to a 50-year high.

Figures show almost 800,000 additional children aged 11 or under will be in state education by 2020 because of rising birth rates and the effects of immigration - reaching its highest level since the early 1970’s.

The figures highlight the crisis facing local authorities in some areas that are being forced to cope with the biggest surge in school applications. It also prompted fresh claims that Labour ignored repeated warnings over the looming population boom by cutting primary school places.

Local authorities in parts of London, the West Midlands and South West have already been forced to install mobile classrooms and educate children in church halls in recent years because of a shortage of space.

Earlier this month Sutton Council in south London urged ministers to increase the maximum class size for infants aged five to seven from 30 to 32 to ease the pressure on schools. Today, the Department for Education said it was spending 4 billion pounds in areas with the tightest squeeze on places over the next four years to create additional primary school capacity.

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