London boroughs are supporting local schools as demand for reception places drops across the capital, a new report released by London Councils shows.
Schools across London are predicted a 7.6% decrease in reception pupil numbers across London from 2022-23 to 2026-27 which translates to a decline of 96,424 to 89,121 pupils over this period.
London Council’s noted that this is roughly the equivalent of a decrease of 243 classes of children.
In Harrow and all of North West London, the percentage change in the forecast number of reception pupils from 2022-23 to 2026-27 has reduced by -10.5% and the change in the forecast number of Year 7 pupils for the same period is down -5.3%.
The birth rate in the capital has been cited as the main reason for the decrease in demand for school places. Between 2012-2021 there has been a 17% decrease in the birth rate in London.
Other possible factors which may have affected the number of applications for reception places in London include Boroughs experiencing shifts in child population as a result of families leaving London following Brexit and the Covid pandemic.
The decrease in reception places has the potential to impact the funding of individual schools as the majority of school revenue funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis. Therefore, a decrease in pupil numbers means a decrease in the funding a school receives.
Cllr Ian Edwards, London Councils’ Executive Member for Children and Young People, said: “London boroughs are working closely with schools experiencing decreasing demand for school places to achieve the best for young Londoners. London still has the best-performing schools in the country and it is vital we ensure our schools thrive in this difficult climate and most importantly, that children achieve the best outcomes.
“Schools are having to make very difficult decisions about how to balance budgets as a result of this drop in school places and local authorities will support them through this process. London Councils will work closely with key education partners in London including government, to mitigate the impact of this drop in demand for school places and to establish an effective framework to meet this challenge going forwards.”