Primary Education: Admissions

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Shadow Chief Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what account (a) his Department and (b) local education authorities in Greater London took of the effect of (i) the birth rate and (ii) Greater London Authority forecasts of the number of children entering primary education in (A) 2000 and (B) 2005 when determining policy on the provision; by what plans he has to take account of the demand for primary school places following changes in the birth rate in (1) 2009, (2) 2012 and (3) 2015; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Sarah McCarthy-Fry Sarah McCarthy-Fry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families

In reply to part (a) of your question, when determining policy on the provision of school places, the Department took no direct account of the birth rate or of GLA forecasts of the number of children entering primary education in 2000, 2005 or 2009. Local authorities are responsible for planning provision for their areas. The Department allocates basic need capital to enable authorities to fund new places in response to pupil number growth. To ensure that local authorities can plan strategically, funding is fixed for three years at the beginning of each spending review period (the current period runs from April 2008 to March 2011). In determining basic need allocations, the Department uses local authorities' own pupil number forecasts, expecting authorities themselves to take account of local factors that will influence future pupil numbers such as birth rate, new housing and population migration. The Department relies on the accuracy of local authority forecasts as it does not hold back funds to allow for future changes.

In reply to part (b) of your question, the Department does not collect information on the extent to which local education authorities in Greater London take account of the birth rate and GLA forecasts of the number of children entering primary education.

All basic need resources for 2008-09 to 2010-11 have been allocated. However, the Department is reviewing emerging pupil number trends to inform the spending review period 2011-12 onwards and will consider whether to continue allocating all basic need funding at the beginning of a new CSR period.

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