Several schools in Oxfordshire are full or at over capacity according to the first data of its kind to be published since the pandemic.

In Oxfordshire 6,666 pupils were impacted by overcrowding, among around 880,000 nationwide, according to data released by the Department of Education for the academic year 2020/2021.

A school is 'overcrowded', in excess of capacity when the number of pupils enrolled is greater than the number of places.

Fourteen schools in Oxfordshire, six of which were secondary schools or 6th form colleges, were deemed overcrowded. 

In 2018-19, the most recent comparable year due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions – there were five overcrowded secondary schools.

In Oxfordshire, the busiest school was The Cherwell School, which had 1,850 school places but 2,073 children on its roll – meaning it was 12% over capacity.

The biggest growth in numbers has been in the 6th form, according to Cherwell school, who say they expect the figures will soon return to pre-pandemic figures.

Witney Gazette: Cherwell School in Oxford.Cherwell School in Oxford.

A Cherwell School spokesperson said: "In the past we have responded to specific requests from the county council and have taken more than our maximum number of students from our catchment area. We have done this for a limited number of years determined by our capacity as well as need.

“There are no plans for us to take more than our planned admission number of students in the coming years.”

The Association of School and College Leaders said a record rate of overcrowded schools nationally is being driven by increased demand for secondary places, compounded by "perceptions linked to Ofsted reports".

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) said overcrowding increases the average class size – placing additional demands on teachers – and has implications for admissions.

Head of analysis at EPI Jon Andrews said the number of pupils attending primary schools peaked in 2019 and is expected to continue to decline, but this could imact funding which is determined on a per-pupil basis.

In Oxfordshire eight primary schools were deemed at overcapacity, with the majority at under capacity.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said: “The vast majority of pupils will be offered a place at one of their preferred schools this coming year.

"Pupils are also now more likely to have a place at a good school now – with 87% of schools [Ofsted] rated good or outstanding now compared to 68% in 2010.”

Listed: Overcrowded secondary schools and 6th forms in Oxfordshire


Here is a list of secondary schools and 6th forms at overcapacity in Oxfordshire.

The number of excess pupils and the percentage the school is at overcapacity is included in brackets.​

  1. The Cherwell School (223 pupils, 12.05%)
  2. Langtree School (29 pupils, 4.91%)
  3. Icknield Community College (31 pupils, 4.43%)
  4. Blessed George Napier Catholic School and Sixth Form (37 pupils, 4.37%)
  5. Matthew Arnold School (42, 3.36%)
  6. John Mason School (26, 2.5%)

Listed: Overcrowded primary schools in Oxfordshire


Here is a list of primary schools at overcapacity in Oxfordshire.

The number of excess pupils and the percentage the school is at overcapacity is included in brackets.

  1. The Hendreds C of E Primary School (17 pupils, 13.49%)
  2. Tetsworth Primary School (7 pupils, 12.5%)
  3. Combe Primary School (6 pupils, 5.71%)
  4. Hagbourne CofE Primary School (5, 2.45%
  5. Bladon Church of England Primary School (2, 2.04%)
  6. Stanton Harcourt Primary School (2, 1.9%)
  7. The Grange Community Primary School (5, 1.59%)
  8. The Batt C of E Primary School (5, 1.58%)

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