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Primary Education: Sutton

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information his Department will require from the London Borough of Sutton to assess its need for emergency capital and revenue funding to meet an increase in demand for primary school places from 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. (262125)

The Department does not require additional information from Sutton but is awaiting the latest school census data to establish the latest trends in pupil numbers for all local authorities.

At the beginning of the three-year spending review period 2008-09 to 2010-11, the Department allocated devolved capital funding to Sutton and other local authorities for the whole period, on the basis of forecasts local authorities supplied to the Department. All basic need resources designated for additional pupil places are allocated at the beginning of the period so that authorities can plan ahead and the Department does not hold back additional funding to meet unexpected changes in demand. Where an increase in demand does arise, local authorities are expected to use their other capital allocations to help meet any shortfall.

We do not hold contingency revenue funding for additional primary school places. The organisation of a local authority’s schools is for the authority to manage within the revenue and capital funding provided.

School revenue funding to local authorities is based on actual pupil numbers recorded in the January school census. For 2009-10, a local authority’s funding will be based on pupil numbers from January 2009. As a result, increases in pupil numbers up to that point, will be reflected in the authority’s funding. If pupil numbers in a local authority’s schools increase by more than 2.5 per cent. between January and the start of the academic year in the September following, the authority automatically receives additional funding for each pupil above the 2.5 per cent. threshold.

The Department is working on means of taking account of projected demographic change in capital allocations for the year 2011-12 onwards.