Schools: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Angela Rayner Angela Rayner Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much of his Department’s capital departmental expenditure limit was spent on creating new school places in each financial year since 2010-11.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Holding answer received on 07 October 2019

Local authorities are under a statutory duty to ensure that there is a school place available for every child. The Department provides basic need funding for every place that is needed, based on local authorities’ own data on pupil forecasts. Local authorities can use this funding to provide places in new schools or through expansions of existing schools, and can work with any school in their local area, including academies and free schools.

Basic need allocations to local authorities to provide new school places from 2011-2021 can be found here: Data for allocations prior to 2011-12 is not readily available.

The Department has also invested a total of £365 million through the Special Provision Capital Fund from 2018-19 to 2020-21. This funding will help local authorities to create new places and improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

Special Provision Capital Fund allocations to local authorities can be found here:

In addition, the Department has funded thousands of good new school places and opened schools across the country through the free schools programme. The Department’s total capital costs of establishing free schools are listed below. These annual costs include all aspects of site acquisition, design, and construction expended in that year.

Financial year

Total capital costs (million)




















To be confirmed [1]



There are also some much smaller additional capital programmes which have also created places, however this is not their primary objective. In total, the Department is on track to create one million places this decade (2010 to 2020), the largest increase in school capacity in at least two generations. This follows a decrease of 100,000 places between 2004 and 2010.

[1] This figure will be available once the Department lays its annual accounts before Parliament in 2020.

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