In December 2013 the Department for Education announced an additional £2.35 billion in basic need funding to support local authorities to create the additional places that will be needed by September 2017, in addition to the £5 billion already committed for the period 2011-15. We have also allocated £820 million in targeted basic need funding to fund an additional 74,000 high-quality places in the areas that face the most demand.
The Department allocates funding for new school places based on information provided by local authorities through an annual survey of the current capacity of schools in the area, and forecasts of future pupil numbers.
Local authorities are legally responsible for ensuring that there are sufficient school places. The Local Government Association’s report shows how effective many local authorities have been in creating new places and the Department will continue to support local authorities in doing this.
One of the recommendations of the Local Government Association’s report was for longer-term allocations. The Department wants to give local authorities as long as possible to plan their school places. This should not extend beyond a period where we have confidence in the underlying data and should allow the Department to allocate funding to reflect changes in projected population and in the number of places needed. The Department believes that three-year rolling allocations strike the right balance between these two objectives.