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Schools: Admissions

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what account he has taken of the most recent population projections provided by the Office of National Statistics in assessing the adequacy of provision of school places at reception and year 1 in (a) the academic year beginning September 2009 and (b) each of the next 10 years. (296128)

Central Government funding to support local provision of school places is decided some time in advance, partly because of the time needed for the building of new capacity and partly to respond to local authorities’ longstanding plea for a degree of funding certainty. So the central Government decisions on allocating capital funding for school places in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were made some time ago, using pupil number forecasts provided to my Department from local authorities.

Over the last few months, it has become clear that in some localities the rise in child population has been steeper than had been allowed for. So on 15 July, we announced an allocation of £200 million for authorities which are experiencing and forecasting exceptionally high rates of growth in demand for reception places to 2011, to support the provision of permanent places where there is greatest need. DCSF is currently appraising applications and aims to make an announcement shortly.

We are about to begin work with authorities on the design of our future approach to deploying capital support to local authorities. That work will draw on the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) projections.