Pupils choosing to stay on for S5 could increase due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new report has said.
A meeting of all councillors in Aberdeen is to take place today, with part of the discussions to be held around the future of the city’s school estate.
Included in this is the forthcoming school rolls, which form part of a timetable for developing the upcoming school estate plan for Aberdeen.
It will also provide recommendations with actions that could be taken to improve the estate in the short, medium and long term.
The updated plan is proposed to include estimations of school roll for the next eight years, which is typically worked out based on forecasts from previous years, while also taking into consideration any new housing developments which may add considerable numbers to surrounding schools.
The coronavirus pandemic is also anticipated to have an impact on the school roll as more people may stay on for further education after 4th year, due to the job market being more difficult under the current circumstances.
The report, which will be discussed today, states: “It is important to accurately predict within the school roll forecast the numbers of pupils reaching the end of their S4 year, who will choose to stay on at school for S5 and S6. This is done by monitoring trends in staying-on rates from recent years.
“However, head teachers are anticipating that from August 2021 there may be a significant increase in the number of S4 pupils in the city choosing to stay on to S5, due to the pandemic and the impact this is likely to have had on the economy and the local job market.
“This is anecdotal at present, and more analysis will need to be done to assess the likely impact of this on secondary school roll forecasts. It will be important for the findings from this work to feed into the overall school estate plan, in terms of the amount of space likely to be required in secondary schools in the short to medium term, to accommodate senior pupils.
“More generally there are signs that the city is seeing significant change in migration patterns, potentially as a result of the pandemic and also Brexit, which are likely to have created economic uncertainty.
“The current 2018-based school roll forecast indicates an overall increase in school rolls, whilst other measures indicate that there is a more general trend towards a potential reduction in population across the city, and also a more elderly population.”
Aberdeen City Council is also working with NHS Grampian on a new data sharing agreement, which is hoped to be in place shortly and will help accurate predict pupil numbers likely to be entering P1 in each primary school in the first four years of the forecast.