- The new figure represents a rise of almost 160 per cent in just five years
- Charity bosses warn record immigration is creating a 'perfect storm'
- High migration levels has had a 'significant' impact on struggling schools
- Squeeze is greatest in 'hotspots' in London, Manchester and Birmingham
Nearly 38,000 migrant children needed a primary school place in England this year – a rise of almost 160 per cent since the start of the decade, statistics show.
Charity bosses warned that record immigration is creating a ‘perfect storm’ for cash-strapped primaries that must absorb rising pupil numbers amid ‘unprecedented pressure’.
The New Schools Network found high levels of migration has had a ‘significant’ impact on schools already struggling to cope with a baby boom.
Last year, 37,975 migrant children of primary school age came to England and would have required a school place by this month. In 2010, the figure was 14,769.
The squeeze on schools is greatest in ‘hot spots’ in London as well as cities with large foreign populations such as Manchester and Birmingham, according to the independent charity that supports groups wanting to set up free schools.
Eight of the ten areas with the highest young migration levels are in London, with Newham in East London having the ‘greatest need for new places’.
The research comes as a survey claimed Britain may need to build 1,600 primary schools in the next nine years to cope with the population explosion.
Public sector contractor Scape Group said local authorities must create the equivalent of 11,200 classrooms to cope with an estimated 336,000 extra primary pupils forecast by 2024.
New Schools Network’s Nick Timothy said: ‘This analysis shows the full effects of large-scale immigration on our primary schools and how it is contributing towards a perfect storm for primaries.
‘It’s clear that England urgently needs more new schools to address this record level of demand.
‘There will soon be a knock-on effect on secondary places, where already three-quarters of the local authorities with the highest levels of net migration are in desperate need of new places.’
It recently emerged that a secondary school with 16 forms and more than 2,500 pupils is being planned in Barking and Dagenham, East London.
The council said it had experienced the ‘highest growth’ in infants aged up to four in London, which would soon move into secondaries.
Simon Reid, of Scape Group, said: ‘As the extra pupils at primary level move towards secondary school, there will be increasing pressure on local authorities to deliver extra secondary school buildings, which are much larger and require extra facilities.’
Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘This is why there’s such a demand to control our own borders and one of the reasons why so many people want to come out of the European Union.
‘Whether it’s housing, schools, hospitals, GPs – the number of people coming here is not sustainable.’
A Department for Education spokesman said yesterday: ‘We want every parent to have access to a good school place for their child –
that’s why funding for school places doubled to £5billion in the last parliament to create 445,000 extra pupil places, reversing the decline of 200,000 places between 2004 and 2010.
‘More than 300 free schools have opened since 2010 and we are committed to opening at least 500 during this parliament – these will create over 400,000 new school places and ensure even more parents have access to a good local school for their child.’
Last month it was revealed that net migration to the UK is at an all-time high, reaching 330,000 in the year to March.
The Office for National Statistics figure – the number entering the country minus those leaving – is more than three times higher than the Government’s target.