DfE releases ‘big picture’ of England’s schools

DfE census data shows decline of SEN pupils and greater ethnic diversity in state-funded schools

The Department for Education (DfE) has released the findings of its January 2016 School Census, giving breakdowns for school type, free school meals, EAL learners and SEN amongst others. 

The total number of new schools is in decline which, coupled with a growth in school-age children, has led to larger class sizes in the state-funded sector. Just over three million pupils now attend academies and free schools, just over two million of which are secondary schools. 

Key facts from the census 

·      There are 8.56 million pupils at school in England, 121,000 more than in January 2015

·      The number of pupils eligible for and claiming free school meals is at a 16-year low, at 14.5%

·      The proportion of pupils from a minority ethnic background has risen by 1.3% to 27.9%. The number has been rising steadily since 2006.

·      The average infant class size is 27.4

·      There are 1.22 million pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in state-funded schools. The number has been declining steadily since 2010.

Read the census findings in full on the DfE website.

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