Reporting Year 2020

National pupil projections

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This release provides national projections for the number of pupils in schools in England by type of school and age. 

The projections are based on new mid-2018 ONS national population projections published in October 2019, ONS monthly births data up to and including 2018 and School Census data up to and including January 2020.

ONS’s principal projections are used for the main pupil projections. Alternative pupil projections, called variants, are also provided based on scenarios such as high migration or low fertility produced by ONS. 

Headline facts and figures - 2020

Headline facts and figures from the 2020 national pupil projections 

  • The nursery and primary school population has been rising since 2009 but has now plateaued, as the drop in births in 2013 feeds into the main school population, and is projected to drop for the whole projection period to 2030. The drop is steeper than previously projected due to lower births recorded since the end of 2016.
  • The secondary school population began rising in 2016 and is projected to continue increasing until 2024 before gradually dropping until the end of the projection period. The peak and then fall is primarily due to the lower births seen in 2013 and beyond, which start to reach secondary school age in around 2025.
  • The population in special schools has been increasing for a number of years, at least partly driven by the increase in the overall population, and this is projected to continue until 2024, before also very gradually dropping.
  • The alternative provision population is projected to increase slowly before stabilising.

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