Today’s Education in the media looks at the latest pupil projection numbers, and our most recent apprenticeship figures.
Pupil Number Projections
Yesterday, Thursday 12 July, the department published national-level population projections data from the Office for National Statistics, which looks at the pupil populations for all school types over the next decade. The projections showed that the population of all schools is predicted to increase to just over 8.4 million people in 2021, a 4.3 per cent increase. The increase is mainly expected to come from secondary schools, with a minor drop in the primary school population over that time.
The national pupil projections have been covered by the Mail, the Mirror, the Times, the Sun, the Telegraph, the Guardian and BBC News Online, with the majority of the coverage writing up the main figures from the projections.
It is important to note in light of these projections that, even with an increase of 26,600 children attending primary school in England between 2017 and 2018, the average primary school class size has remained at 27.1 pupils.
There are also fewer primary school pupils in very large classes – 36 or more – than there were in 2010.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
This Government has driven the largest creation in school places in two generations and by 2020, there will be one million more new places across the education system than there were in 2010. Even with a significant rise in pupil numbers in primary schools in recent years, primary class sizes have remained pretty constant.
The department is determined to ensure that apprenticeships provide people with the ability to get the skills they need to get on in life, and are looking to improve the quality of apprenticeships on offer. That is why it is great to see an almost 1000% increase in the number of apprenticeships being taken on the new high-quality standards this year. On top of this, it is encouraging that the number of people starting higher level apprenticeships increased by 12.5% compared to 2016/17.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:
While the number of people starting apprenticeships has decreased overall, this is not unexpected. There is good news in these figures and I’m pleased to see the number of people starting on new, higher-quality apprenticeships has increased by almost 1000% this year.
There are also tens of thousands more people starting on higher level apprenticeships, which are available in a range of cutting edge industries, and more people achieving their apprenticeships.
Quality is more important than quantity, and our shake-up of the apprenticeship system has been all about making sure apprenticeships, developed by businesses themselves, give people the skills they need to get the career they want. The levy is an extremely important part of that and it is doing.