According to the Office of National Statistics, the UK population is projected to increase by more than four million to 65.6 million over the 10 year period to 2018. This increase is equivalent to an average annual rate of growth of 0.7 per cent between mid-2008 and mid-2018 with the population reaching 71.6 million by 2033.
I was somewhat surprised, therefore, to read this week that having projected this figures some time ago, no one in Government had thought that this baby boom may put further strain on our schools and an already acutely crowded primary school system.
Thousands of our young children are already being taught in temporary structures and the east London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham are looking at leasing space in former stores owned by MFI and Woolworths. Sutton in south London is seeking permission to raise the class size limit for infants to 32, and others are expected to follow suit.
This is a worrying trend.
Educated children are the best potential asset for growth we have in the UK and education is not an area that should be put under strain.
Let’s get together to invest in our children now and build more schools. The aim must be to reduce class size, attract more teachers who will want to work in better conditions and concentrate on fewer pupils, and ensure parents don’t have to endure the stress and anxiety associated with finding a decent school to educate their child. This shouldn’t be the right of an elite minority.