Several secondary schools in Herefordshire—including John Kyrle High School (JKHS)—are full or over capacity, figures reveal.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said a record rate of overcrowded schools nationally is being driven by increased demand for secondary places, compounded by “perceptions linked to Ofsted reports”.
Department for Education data shows that there are currently 1410 pupils for the 1310 places at JKHS, which puts it at 7.6 per cent over capacity.
It is one of five secondary schools in the county which were at, or above full capacity as of May 1 last year.
The overcrowding of school has affected 3,728 pupils in the area last year, and among around 880,000 nationwide. A school is at or in excess of capacity when the number of pupils enrolled is greater than or equal to its number of places.
Across England, 22 per cent of secondary schools reached this threshold last year, up from 17 per cent in 2018-19, and the highest proportion in a decade.
General secretary of the ASCL Geoff Barton said: “The increasing demand for secondary places is complicated by perceptions linked to Ofsted reports with higher-rated schools often heavily oversubscribed and significant spare capacity at lower-rated schools.
“It drives a vicious cycle with improvement harder to secure in schools which face the greatest challenges.
“The current approach needs a rethink so that it is more supportive and less punitive, and so that every family has access to a good local school place.”
Fairfield High School was the worst affected in Herefordshire, which had 450 school places but 530 children on its roll, meaning it was 18 per cent over capacity.
This was followed by John Kyrle High School and Weobley High School at five per cent over capacity. The Education Policy Institute said overcrowding increases the average class size, placing additional demands on teachers and has implications for admissions.