Pupil counts for the historic years are derived from data collected via the School Census.
This year 2021 school census data would normally be added into the model. However, the dataset shows unusual drops in the pupil numbers in certain school types, most significantly nursery & primary and alternative provision schools. The 2021 nursery & primary school population is 34,000 lower than was forecast, a notably higher difference than usual. The alternative provision population for 2021 is 24% lower than had been forecast.
These drops are believed to be temporary, as a result of the pandemic, rather than long-term changes. If they were used in the projection model they would result in population decreases across future years which are not considered to be realistic estimates of the pupil population over the next ten years.
Therefore it has been decided not to include the 2021 school census data in this update of the pupil projection model. Thus 2021 is still a projected year and the model, having not been scrolled forwards, is still a 2020 model, albeit with additional actual 2019 data incorporated.
Note these census figures will need to be included, alongside those from 2022, in the new pupil projection model produced next year. However, the 2022 school census results will show whether the drops seen this year were indeed temporary. The methodologies for projecting into the future can then, if required, be adjusted accordingly.