More than one in four British schools will close by the end of 2020, warns new report
BIRMINGHAM, England — Bristol Vocational Schools has more than doubled its workforce by the time the school year ends in 2020, the government’s National Audit Office has warned.
The auditor found that the number of teachers at the school, which opened in 2010, would shrink by about 50% by the year 2020.
Brixton Vocational Academy, which closed in 2016, has also forecast a 60% drop in pupils.
“This report demonstrates that there is a need for a review of our strategy, which is to invest in our future and strengthen our resilience to the economic downturn,” the education secretary, Justine Greening, said.
She also pledged to double funding to schools across the country, and to invest more in vocational training for older people.
With 1.4 million pupils enrolled in the state’s schools in the 2014-15 academic year, the National Audit has forecast that 1.8 million of those will be leaving by the summer of 2020.
The new report was released as ministers unveiled the first round of budget cuts.
As part of the plan to close more than one-third of the schools in England, the education ministry plans to shut more than 1,500 schools over the next four years, including Brixton Voc, one of the UK’s most popular vocational schools.
It is the first time the number is expected to fall below the 2.5 million that was forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Teachers and pupils at Brixton, which offers free lessons, say the closures will hurt their chances of making ends meet.
They are also calling for a change to the curriculum, saying it is too difficult for young people to understand.
A group of about 30 students are holding a protest outside the school.
Their protest comes as a study of the number and characteristics of young people leaving the UK has found that some may be leaving for jobs that are too tough for them to find.
Last year, nearly one in three people aged between 18 and 24 said they had been looking for a job abroad, a sharp rise on the previous year.
Some of those leaving were also leaving because they had lost their job, leaving them in financial need.
While the government has pledged to increase funding for vocational training, it has said that it will also “invest more in teaching” to help those left behind.