Public health consultant says south Warwickshire needs to gear up for a big increase in the number of children entering education over the next few years

South Warwickshire needs to gear up for a big increase in the number of children entering education over the next few years according to a county council public health consultant

South Warwickshire needs to gear up for a big increase in the number of children entering education over the next few years according to a county council public health consultant. Photo by JPImedia
South Warwickshire needs to gear up for a big increase in the number of children entering education over the next few years according to a county council public health consultant. Photo by JPImedia

Warwick and Stratford districts are likely to see an 11.9 per cent increase in the number of 0-4 year-olds by 2030 with numbers continuing to soar until 2043 by when Warwick is expected to see a 25.5 per cent increase with Stratford slightly lower at 22.3 per cent.

These were just some of the findings of the 0-5 Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) drawn up by Duncan Vernon and presented to the Warwickshire County Council’s health and wellbeing board meeting on Wednesday (May 4).

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In his summary, the public health expert explained: “The predicted increase in the number of under five-year-olds in Warwickshire needs to be accounted for in the commissioning of services.

"Over the longer term there is a predicted county-wide increase of 17.7 per cent by 2043.”

Mr Vernon also explained that early evidence from the pandemic indicated that the number of births decreased in December 2020, January 2021, and February 2021 - figures relating to live births that would have been conceived during the first lockdown in 2020.

While this suggested that there would not be a baby boom as a result of the Covid restrictions, there was a 1.7 per cent increase in the monthly fertility rate in March 2021 compared to the previous year which could lead to peaks in demand for some services.

Elsewhere in his report, Mr Vernon highlighted that relative levels of deprivation were increasing in Warwickshire and there were higher levels of need in Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby town centre and Leamington.

These figures were supported by evidence that the largest numbers of children in low-income families from 2015/16 to 2018/19 were in Nuneaton and Bedworth and Rugby.

He added: “Children in low-income families are associated with poorer outcomes in adult life, premature mortality, and lower life expectancy, as well as other health issues including mental health.

"Within Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth has the highest number of 0-5 children in relatively low-income families, accounting for 19 per cent of its total 0-5 population.

“Deprivation is linked to performance at school and has been shown to have an adverse impact on school readiness.”

Figures also show that while Warwickshire has less childhood obesity than England as a whole, both North Warwickshire and Nuneaton and Bedworth have higher rates than the England average.

The lowest rate in the county was recorded in Kenilworth.