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New Schools

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many new schools commissioned by local authorities have been built since 2001; and how many applications he received from local authorities to build new community schools in that period. (102442)

The Department relies on local authorities to determine schools provision, including the expansion of existing schools or the provision of new ones, and does not maintain central records of new community schools that have been built.

Proposals by local authorities to establish new community schools are decided locally by the local authority, School Organisation Committee or schools adjudicator and the Secretary of State plays no part in the process. Since 2001 proposals for 567 community schools have been published of which 529 have been approved, eight rejected and 30 are awaiting decision. These figures include new schools established as a result of a local reorganisation or amalgamation of schools, where the new schools will be established in the premises of closing schools.

Since September 2006 a local authority has been required to seek consent from the Secretary of State if they wish to establish a secondary school without running a competition. If consent is given the local authority would have to publish statutory proposals and these would be decided under local decision-making arrangements. No applications for consent have been received to publish proposals for a community secondary school.