When there are more children than school places something has to give. That’s the situation in more than half the council areas in the UK right now.
So what’s the solution?
- Children may have to travel much further to a school where there is a place for them.
- Classes will get bigger.
- Schools will need to use temporary accommodation to house the overflow of students.
None of these are ideal and there are downsides to even these solutions.
With many families having both parents working, how will children get to school if the journey is much longer – and, potentially, more complex, perhaps involving changes of train or bus? If families have two or more children that may mean a major strain on the school ‘taxi’ service.
If classes get bigger, students will get far less teacher-pupil interaction, so some children may ‘disappear’ in a bigger group and not get the help they need.
Temporary accommodation is never a good solution. Not least because it’s temporary and a long-term solution is needed. Putting portable classrooms on the school site takes up the play area and finding off campus accommodation can cause problems getting both students and teaching staff to and from the off-site location.
More new schools
The projections are that the demand for secondary school places is rising and will continue to do so. That means that more new schools are needed. While there are already more free schools being built, there still aren’t enough to meet the expected demand, if the Department of Education figures are right.
As home schooling has increased by 40% over the past couple of years, more online tutoring is becoming available and is an affordable option.
Private tutors can be expensive and are frequently subject specific so it may require more than one tutor to help children studying for GCSE exams. It may be that more families resort to supporting their children by providing additional tuition to ensure that they don’t fall behind due to the challenges of bigger classes and teachers stretched to their limits.
The online option provides more flexibility and is often supported with access to live tutors.