To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what criteria he uses to define the physical capacity of secondary schools; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of these criteria.
The pupil capacity of a maintained school is defined in the light of the statutory minimum teaching area (MTA) requirements set out in the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981. In connection with the more open enrolment provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988, an LEA or school governing body wishing to vary the standard number for admissions to a secondary school is invited to complete a questionnaire based on pupil work places. The information provided permits the calculation of an indicated admission limit for the school. The method, with minor amendments, has been in use since 1978. It takes account of the size, purpose and intensity of use of each space, and of the number and age of pupils on roll. These criteria appear adequate for the purpose. The procedures allow for the individual consideration of cases where necessary.