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Schools: Admissions

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many fully subscribed schools in England (a) applied for and (b) received capital funding from their local authority for expansion (i) between 1997 and 2006, (ii) between 2006 and January 2008 and (iii) since January 2008. (201590)

The Department is continuing to support huge capital investment in schools. Over CSR07 this will total £21.9 billion. This is invested through a combination of our strategic, targeted and devolved programmes to local authorities and schools. Investment priorities take account of a number of factors, including the need to expand schools—which is subject to the local decision making process. Accordingly, the Department does not collect information centrally on the number of applications to local authorities for capital funding to support school expansions.

Available data show that (i) between 1999 (the first year for which information is available) and 2006, there were 20 approved proposals from schools to enlarge and increase the admission number by 27 or more, 16 approved proposals to enlarge sixth forms, and 444 smaller expansions; (ii) between 2006 and January 2008 the figures were 22, 36, and 102; and (iii) since January 2008, the figures are nine, four, and eight. We do not have figures on which of these schools were over-subscribed, or which involved a capital cost.

Additionally, since 2004 the Department has also operated a funding mechanism whereby successful and popular schools can, with or without the support of their local authority, apply for funding toward to the cost of expanding by a form of entry. Provided they meet the criteria set out in guidance, capital support will follow provided the expansion is agreed through the local decision making process. 22 such expansions have been agreed, and additional bids are currently being considered.