It is the DfES which provides capital support for local authorities and schools to invest in school infrastructure, including for new pupil places as a result of population and housing growth. Allocations are made over each spending review period, and local authorities and schools plan their investment according to local priorities.
Allocations currently include capital support for new pupil places which takes account of local authority forecasts of pupil growth. Over the current spending review period this has been around £400 million per year. In addition, Building Schools for the Future plans take account of the future need for secondary age pupils; and the Primary Capital Programme from 2008-09 will also do this for primary pupils.
Where there is a clear exceptional demand which cannot be met from existing resources, local authorities can apply to the ‘Basic Need Safety Valve’ for additional capital.