Department for Education: East of England

Department for Education written question – answered on 30th September 2022.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on his policies of trends in the level of population growth in the East of England; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

According to the most recent Census estimates, population in the East of England stood at 6.3 million in 2021. This represents growth of 8.3% since 2011 - the highest in England and Wales. The Department recognises both the challenges and opportunities this poses to education in the region.

The statutory duty to provide sufficient school places sits with local authorities. The Department provides capital funding through the Basic Need grant to support local authorities provide school places, based on their own forecast data. They can use this funding to provide places in new schools or through expansions of existing schools, and work with any school in their local area, including academies and free schools.

The funding is not ringfenced, subject to certain conditions, and nor is it time bound, meaning local authorities are free to use this funding to best meet their local priorities.

In March 2022, the Department announced the East of England will receive just over £68 million to support the provision of new school places needed for 2024 and just over £45 million for 2025.

The East of England also received a total of just below £141 million through the High Needs Provision Capital Allocations (HNPCA) announced in March 2022. This funding is for financial years 2022-23 and 2023-24 and will help the local authority to create new places and improve facilities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities or who require alternative provision. Prior to that, the East of England received just over £26 million through its 2021-22 HNPCA funding announced in April 2021.

This funding is on top of the department’s investment in the centrally-delivered free schools programme.

The Government is also providing schools with the largest cash boost in a decade. Following the 2021 Spending Review, core schools funding (including funding for both mainstream schools and high needs) will increase by £7 billion in 2024-25, compared to 2021-22. This includes a £4 billion increase in 2022-23 compared to the previous year - a 7% cash terms per pupil boost - and a further £1.5 billion in 2023-24.

The East of England is attracting an extra £88.9 million for mainstream schools, taking total school funding for 2023-24 compared to 2022-23 to over £4.6 billion, based on current pupil numbers. This represents an increase of 8.1% per pupil across two years to 2023-24 compared to 2021-22 (excluding growth funding). Final allocations for 2023-24 will be announced, as usual, in December.

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