New Report Says Several UK Schools Could Close Due to Falling Birth Rates

Due to declining student numbers caused by increasing expenses, Brexit, and COVID-19, English authorities are responding by merging or closing primary schools.

London boroughs are among the most impacted. However, some communities are either cutting services or eliminating them as they prepare for a future with fewer babies.

Hackney and Lambeth, two London councils, have recently revealed plans for significant cutbacks and closures; after seven years, Lambeth’s plan would reduce the number of primary school spots in the borough by almost four thousand.

Due to declining student enrollment, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has issued a nationwide alert on possible school closures. If they cannot find suitable replacements, they risk losing almost £1 billion in financing by 2030. Primary schools will be hit the most initially, but secondary schools will also feel the effects of mergers, closures, and “cost-cutting measures,” according to the EPI.

By 2030, there will likely be a significant decrease of almost half a million students enrolled in elementary school, which translates to over 1,800 schools or 17,000 classrooms. This occurred because the baby boom that began at the turn of the century was closing. Major policy concerns arise from the expected change in the student body. Due to the fixed nature of most school expenditures, a decline in student enrollment might have the unintended consequence of reducing school finances.

Researchers used data from student forecasts and the EPI’s own financing model to examine the possible effects on school spending until 2030. The total expenditure would still decrease due to the decline in students even if all schools received an annual rise of 0.5% in real terms of per-child financing.

After reaching a high of £42.7 billion in 2024/25, researchers project that financing for elementary and secondary schools will decline to £41.6 billion by 2029/30. The results will be ready before next Tuesday’s National Offer Day for elementary schools.

Taking a “long-term view,” the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has asked the government not to shut down smaller schools that could be necessary again. These numbers will be released before next Tuesday’s National Offer Day for elementary schools.