Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics


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What does the education landscape look like across England?

The Department for Education’s published statistics on pupils in schools (January 2019) in England today. One thing I am surprised, yet very happy to read, is that the number of teachers has risen – hurrah – 453,400 full-time equivalents when compared to last year. Here is a summary…

There are 84,700 more pupils in the school system than in January 2018 and with a tiny increase in the number of teachers, this pressure will be felt somewhere. The number of secondary school teachers has decreased again – as secondary school pupil numbers continue to rise. This has already resulted in larger secondary school class sizes, and unless the government takes action, the situation can only get worse (NAHT, 2019).

Pupil Statistics

  1.  15.4% of pupils are eligible for and claiming free school meals. This is the highest proportion since 2014.
  2.  4.5% of infant pupils are in classes of more than 30 pupils.
  3. Of infants in classes with more than 30 pupils, the vast majority (95.7%) are in classes with 31-32 pupils
  4. When compared to all primary schools, primary academies have a higher than average rate of eligibility, with 17.1% of pupils eligible for FSM, compared with 15.1% in local authority maintained primary schools.
  5. The number of pupils in state-funded primary schools has risen (since 2009)
  6. The number of pupils in state-funded secondary schools rose for the 5th year in a row …
  7. The number of pupils in independent schools has been falling since 2017.
  8. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic origins has been rising steadily over recent years.
  9. In primary schools, the proportion of EAL was 21.2%, the same as in January 2018.
  10. In secondary schools, the proportion of EAL was 16.9%, up from 16.6% in January 2018.

School Statistics

The number of secondary schools in England has increased, while primary school numbers have increased slightly. Overall, the number of schools has increased exceeding the 2015 level. Remember this when politicians quote figures on the telly – more schools = more Ofsted outcomes.

The School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 2012 prescribe certain limited circumstances in which pupils may be admitted as lawful exceptions to the infant class size limit of 30 for one-teacher classes. The number has continued to fall.

On my travels across England, I have met two teachers with class sizes of 43 and 44. Not recorded here! Read the data, the tables and the methodology.

Download the summary and the full dataset.


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