Super-size secondary schools planned


At least 17 local councils are planning 2,000-plus pupil secondary schools of between 12 and 16 form groups for each year, the Times Educational Supplement has found from Freedom of Information requests.

It follows concerns by local authorities to find school places for 80,000 pupils in the next four years.

Reported in the Telegraph, the schools are planned for both urban and rural areas, when pupil numbers reach a peak in the next few years.

The figures, requested by the Times Education Supplement (TES), showed that at least 17 local authorities are planning to set up secondary schools with 12 forms of entry or more once the number of pupils reaches saturation point.

Exmouth Community College in Devon is expected to be one of the largest schools, with 2,860 students and 15 forms of entry on one school campus by 2018, the report said.

Separately, Walton High in Milton Keynes is set to expand to 16 forms of entry and 3,000 pupils over two sites.

Local authorities in Warwickshire, Rotherham, Caerphilly, East Riding of Yorkshire, Newcastle, Northumberland, Staffordshire and Brighton and Hove have said they will build schools with 12 forms of entry by the time pupil numbers reach their peak.

Barking and Dagenham Council in East London has proposed a 16-form-entry school, while Devon County Council will have a 15-form-entry secondary, the data revealed.

Local authorities in Southampton, Nottinghamshire, Central Bedfordshire, Croydon and Birmingham will all have schools with 13 forms of entry or more, to deal with the soaring numbers of pupils.

Schools minister Nick Gibb told the TES: "If you look at Shanghai, their schools are very large and they produce some very high standards of education. The danger of creating schools too large is they may struggle to attract parents."

He added that expansion must be balanced with whether they can be confident that they can maintain good behaviour and good academic standards.

School leaders have said the expansion of schools to accommodate more pupils doesn't tend to lead to a drop in standards.