A new government with fresh enthusiasm for pushing its policies further is not the only challenge that school leaders face over the next five years. The aging teaching population, the rise in pupil numbers and the implacable forward march of technology would have substantial impacts under any government. In this blog, the first of two based on my lecture for the London Centre for Leadership in Learning today, 19 May, I describe 10 challenges facing school leaders over the next five years. It’s a pretty formidable list.
- The rise in pupil numbers. By 2020 there will be 650,000 more pupils in the school system than there are today as the pupil bulge continues in the primary sector and starts to feed through into secondary schools. Finding (and funding) the extra forms of entry and commissioning new schools will be hard enough for local authorities but will be made harder because of the fragmented nature of the planning process. 250,000 of the new places are to come via the 500 free schools that the Conservatives have promised – although this implies that free schools would only be approved in locations where places are needed. In addition their manifesto also said that all good schools (including free schools and grammar schools) would be allowed to expand. Stitching together these elements to ensure every child has a place is going to be demanding unless local authorities are given a say in the establishment and expansion of free schools and popular schools.