Hundreds of new secondary school classrooms need to cope with pupil roll

More than 500 extra secondary school classrooms will be needed in Scotland by 2020, according to a public sector research group.

More than 500 extra secondary school teachers will be needed in Scotland by 2020. Picture: TSPL
More than 500 extra secondary school teachers will be needed in Scotland by 2020. Picture: TSPL

A report on the challenges facing the secondary school system across the UK revealed that Scotland’s secondary pupil numbers will rise by almost six per cent by 2020.

This means that approximately 15,800 additional pupils will enter the secondary school system requiring the equivalent of 527 new classrooms.

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The ‘Secondary School Places Challenge’ from Scape Group, the public sector procurement specialist, also showed Edinburgh City Council and Glasgow City Council will require 57 additional classroom - the highest number in the report.

The report says this growth means the two authorities would need to build two secondary schools .

However despite requiring significantly fewer school places by 2020, Orkney will see the greatest increase in pupil numbers over the next three years - at 18 per cent.

Mark Robinson, Scape Group chief executive, said: “Secondary school pupil numbers are set to rise significantly and there is a real risk if we do not increase the output of new secondary school classrooms there will be significant pressure on places across the UK.

“As primary school pupils move up the education system, an increased pressure is being placed on local authorities to deliver new secondary schools in a short timeframe.

“The Secondary School Places Challenge is of such importance we need a UK-wide national school building strategy, and for national and Scottish Government, local authorities and industry to work together to deliver more places quickly. School places must be seen as a top priority. Only through collaboration can we deliver more places .

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute for Scotland teaching union, said: “We believe it is critical that these extra classrooms are created otherwise the pressure will be on to simply increase class sizes, when they are already too high. Smaller class sizes are important to the delivery of a high-quality learning experience and enable each individual pupil to spend more time with their teacher which can provide a major boost for their learning and attainment.

“It is essential, also, that additional teachers are employed to match the increased pupil rolls.”

The data used was from the Scottish Government’s ‘Local authority level pupil projections: primary and secondary school pupil numbers by local authority; 2015 to 2020.’

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We work very closely with education authorities in the future planning and improvement of Scotland’s school estate - and over the past seven years we have seen 449 schools built or substantially refurbished.

“This work is underpinned by our £1.8 billion Schools for the Future Programme, which will see the construction of 117 new schools and benefit some 60,000 pupils by 2020.”