The Department has published short-term forecasts of local authority pupil numbers which are used to underpin the indicative allocation of the Dedicated School Grant (DSG) over the three years of the CSR period to 2010-11, These forecasts are broken down into three age groupings: under-fives, five-10 and 11 to 15-year-olds and are available on teachernet at:
The available information on the number of pupils at primary and secondary schools in each local authority is published annually by the Department. From 2005 the figures can be found in the Statistical First Release “DCSF: Schools and Pupils in England,” the latest of which can be accessed at:
Figures for 2004 and earlier were published in the Statistical Volume “Statistics of Education Schools in England 2004 Edition”, which can be accessed at:
Equivalent publications are available for earlier years. Copies of both the forecasts and pupil numbers have been placed in the House Library.
The Department collects information from each local authority on the number of surplus places through an annual survey. The most recent published data relate to the position at January 2007 and show the breakdown of surplus places by local authority in primary and secondary schools. The data are available at http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/fallingschoolrolls/context/stats/ and a copy has been placed in the Library.
Surplus school places can represent a poor use of resources. Local authorities must examine the benefits and drawbacks of redeploying resources tied up in surplus school places for the wider benefit of pupils in the area.
Individual authorities must determine how to reduce levels of surplus places, but reducing surplus need not always mean school closures. Capacity can be reduced by removing temporary accommodation, consolidating split-site schools, or by rationalising school space. Rationalisation can involve adapting accommodation for alternative use and broadening the services their schools offer in line with the likely future pattern of children’s services and the needs of local communities. We also encourage schools to pool resources through working more closely together either through federation or close collaboration.
Advice on the range of options available to local authorities to tackle primary falling rolls can be found at www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/fallingschool rolls/ and a copy has been placed in the House Library.