The Department of Education has published a statistical release which details the basic provisional enrolment figures for schools and for children in funded pre-school education for 2018/19.
The data is taken from the school enrolments census which was conducted in October 2018.
Data collected through the school census exercise are used by the Department of Education (DE) to inform a wide range of policy areas, including finance allocations, school estate development and planning, special education, school improvement, area based planning, extended schools, additional educational needs, early years and integrated and Irish medium education.
The numbers of schools in Northern Ireland continues to decrease, from 1,180 in 2014/15 to 1,146 in 2018/19. Much of this decline is accounted for by the drop of 23 primary schools (including preparatory departments) and 10 non-grammar schools from 2014.
The number of funded pre-school settings has dropped from 773 last year to 771 this year. This includes 386 voluntary and private pre-schools, 246 primary schools with nursery provision, 95 nursery schools and 44 primary schools with reception classes1.
There were almost 347,000 pupils in all funded schools (including voluntary and private pre-schools) in October 2018. This has increased for the ninth successive year, and has risen by almost 3,000 pupils alone compared to last year.
Enrolments in primary schools (years 1-7) follow the overall trend, with an increase of almost 800 pupils on last year to 174,522 (Figure 1). This is the highest number of primary school pupils recorded since 1999. The increase observed is in line with the rise in the number of 4-10 year olds in NISRA’s population estimates over the last five years2.
Enrolments in post-primary schools have increased for the second year in a row to 142,237 pupils.
Similarly to last year, enrolments have increased in non-grammar, with an increase this year of almost 1,700. In contrast to last year enrolments in grammar schools have increased slightly.
The number of pupils enrolled in years 8 – 12 has risen by more than 2,000 since last year. This increase is in line with the rise in the number of 11 – 15 year olds in NISRA’s population estimates.
These rises in enrolments were projected, back in 2010, in the Oxford Economics Scoping Paper on Education in Northern Ireland, commissioned by the Integrated Education Fund.
The full report can be found on the Department of Education website at: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publications/school-enrolments-201819-statistical-bulletins
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