Decade of immigration means ½ million more school places to be found in next five years – and 1m over ten years

October 14, 2010

Over the next five years – to 2015 – over half a million more school places will be needed for the children of recent immigrants to the UK - those who arrived after 1998.

This will cost a total of £40 billion over the period – according to a new report from think-tank Migrationwatch.

By 2020 the need for extra places increases to one million at a total cost over the ten year period of almost £100 billion if immigration continues at current rates.

So far, educating the children of immigrants who have arrived over the past twelve years has cost the taxpayer more than £15 billion. In 2009 alone it was almost £4.5 billion or more than £12 million a day.

‘These are some of the consequences of one of the most reckless and unpopular policies of any Government in generations and they are now coming home to roost,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Migrationwatch chairman.

‘The public are waking up to the speed and scale at which fundamental changes are being forced upon them, thanks to the policies of the previous administration, and our schools are but just one example. It will be replicated in many areas of our national life such as health, housing, natural resources and infrastructure and the costs will continue to increase for many years to come - all against a background of severe financial stringency.

‘What is also becoming clearer all the time is that there has been little if any planning or preparation for this surge in the need for education and other public services,’ he said. ‘Some schools might have spare capacity from earlier periods of higher birth rates but they will not necessarily be in the same places as the new demand’, he added.

Sir Andrew said it was, of course, the case that many immigrants both contributed through paying tax and by working in teaching and other professions but this was offset by the fact that the employment rate among some immigrant communities was considerably lower than the UK average. Only about 40% of immigrants come for the purpose of work.

Looking further ahead, the paper finds that between 2008 and 2033, official population projections suggest that an additional 2.3 million births will result from migration.

Assuming that all of the additional children are educated in state schools, the total costs of their schooling would be around £ 190 billion over a 25 year period. This calculation is made using very conservative assumptions about school leaving age etc. It does not make any allowance for additional education requirements of migrants (eg: help with languages etc.) so the eventual cost could be much higher than this.

If the official population projections are broadly right, an additional 1.3 million school places would be needed by 2033. This would be equivalent to almost 4,000 new schools staffed by around 55,000 additional teachers.

‘Almost every family in England is being affected by the growing crisis over school places but no-one will talk about its causes. While there are many benefits from controlled and managed immigration, our paper graphically demonstrates how families throughout the country suffer when governments duck the issue and fail to plan for the consequences, ‘said Sir Andrew.

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