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Floods of 2007 leads to baby boom in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 17, 2012

Ellen and Micah Butt

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IF any proof were needed that the terrible floods of 2007 brought Gloucestershire folk closer together, here it is.

A huge jump in the birth rate nine months after the shocking events of July 2007 means an extra 120 school places must be found in Gloucester this September – leaving council chiefs with a £600,000 bill.

Across Gloucestershire, more than 200 school places will have to be found.

Councillor Jackie Hall (Con, Quedgeley), county council cabinet member for education, said: "We need to take action to ensure we will have enough primary school places in the areas where we know there will be an increase in demand."

In Tewkesbury, which was famously turned into an island by the flood waters, the birth rate in 2008 reached a two-decade high of 909, 69 up on 2007.

At the start of the decade the county's birth rate for the year was 6,064 and it had fallen to 5,946 by 2005.


But in 2008 it peaked at 6,730, increasing everywhere except the Cotswolds.

Kate Jeal, a spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, could not rule out the flooding theory. She said: "Anecdotally we know of surges in the birth rates in the 1970s, for example, when there were power cuts and people were stuck at home."

Nicola Davies, a spokeswoman for Gloucestershire County Council, said: “I’ve always thought that there must have been a spike in the birth rate following the floods, even within my circle of friends.“Out of a small team of press officers working during the flood crisis, four of us became pregnant during that time and I doubt we were the only ones,” said the mother of two.Cheltenham mother of three, Ellen Butt, 33, from Brooklyn Road, found herself falling pregnant during the floods with her youngest son, Micah. He was born two days early on April 15, 2008 weighing 8lb 14oz after a home water birth.The governor at Rowanfield Infant School in Alstone Lane said: “The school is one of those putting on the extra places to cope with the large intake. Our children all have two years between them and that seemed a good natural progression so we were trying for Micah.“Although he is not really a ‘flood baby’, I think there will be some out there. I have two close friends and we all had babies about the same time, so I suppose there were quite a few babies born around the same time.”Kate Jeal, a spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Anecdotally we know of surges in the birth rates in the 1970s, for example, when there were power cuts and people were stuck at home.”

Longer term forecasts reveal an extra 5,000 school places need to be found at primaries between and now 2015.

One fifth of schools are full or over subscribed, but the majority do have spaces free at the moment.

Schools minister Lord Hill said: "We're dealing with the impact of soaring birth rates on primary schools."

A county council consultation is running from January 24 until the end of February on the proposals on extra school places.

For more information visit call 01452 426783.

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  • Kay_Powell  |  July 15 2012, 9:45PM

    I, too, thought the same as Terry until I looked up the evidence on the net. While the law says that children have to start school before they turn five, I found a Guardian article from 30th April 2009 that said that all children would be given the option of starting school in the September after their fourth birthday. As the 'flood babies' will be four years and four or five months old in September, that means that they will be eligible to start school then.

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  • Bonkim2003  |  January 17 2012, 7:08PM

    I bet the next question would be how to pay for bringing up the children given the cap on child benefit, increase in nursery, and University fees, food and clothing for the youngsters. Start planning early.

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  • Alphonso2  |  January 17 2012, 6:16PM

    Well done TIG with the news from 2008!

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  • Jimmy231  |  January 17 2012, 1:40PM

    In other news, contraception sales are down 10%

  • TerryDong  |  January 17 2012, 12:35PM

    So how many of these babies were born IN March or April 2008 - so 9 months after the floods - and how many were between September 2007 and March/April 2008, or between April and August 2008? C'mon TiG, we need the facts and figures. Otherwise a more cynical and suspicious person than myself could just say it was lazy journalism with no real basis in fact. I presume that TiG reporters do know all about the gestation period of babies, and don't think that they are found under goosberry bushes or delivered by storks?

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  • youknowsit  |  January 17 2012, 11:37AM

    Baby boom, what about the influx of people from across the globe desending on our county. Only 67 more babies than the previous year, good job the council didn't close the schools they wanted back a few years, remember?

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  • smarmyhare  |  January 17 2012, 7:23AM

    Well... Gotta find some sort of entertainment through the powercuts. Personally candlelit drinkypoos were enough for me! (That and the fact that MissyMadDog had to decamp to mine when she found herself up to her waders in it, Poor Missy...)

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