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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 14:34 GMT
School rolls facing 14% slump
Empty classroom
School rolls in Scotland are dropping
Scotland's primary schools are facing a slump of about 14% in their rolls, according to the latest figures.

Statisticians expect that the total number of pupils will fall to 675,000 within 10 years, leading to more school closures.

A total of 722,359 pupils attended primary, secondary and special schools during September - down by 8,300 on the same month in 2003.

The falling birth rate is being blamed for the continuing drop.

The bulk of the shrinkage was in the primary school sector, where a fall of 7,700 pupils reduced the total to 397,853.

The number of secondary school pupils fell marginally, by 345 to 317,494.

Falling population

However, school rolls seem set to fall more sharply. Projected figures for publicly-funded secondary schools forecast a total of 268,000 pupils in 2014 - some 16% below present levels.

The 2004 figures for pupils attending local authority special schools also showed a slight fall, with a total of 7,012 compared to 7,267 in September 2003.

The projection for special schools is for a fall in numbers of more than 30%.

This is due partly to the general decline but also what the official report calls "mainstreaming" of those with special educational needs. That is, their increasing inclusion in mainstream schools.

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "Given Scotland has a falling population, I don't think anybody would be surprised to see the number of pupils is also in decline.

"We publish these statistics every year for very good reasons - to allow us to plan the number of teachers we need and to allow local authorites to plan as well."

Fewer teachers for fewer pupils
24 Feb 04 |  Scotland
Empty desks in Scots classrooms
22 Jan 04 |  Scotland
Primary schools to close
01 Oct 03 |  Scotland

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