A decline in the number of pupils entering a school. Although this can be a problem for individual schools, it has also been seen as a national trend since the final quarter of the 20th century. Some of its consequences can be seen in the closure or amalgamation of schools. The introduction of a quasi‐market in education following the Education Reform Act 1988 required schools to compete for pupils by introducing the concept of parental choice to replace the system of local authorities allocating school places on the basis of catchment areas. This proved an effective strategy for reducing school places overall in the face of falling rolls, since it led to failure and closure of less popular or more isolated schools.