The place planning estimates show the estimated number of places needed in order to meet future demand. These estimates are provided in the ‘School place planning estimates’ data file at national, regional, local authority and planning area level for readers interested in planning school place provision.
These estimates factor in existing capacity reported at 1 May 2019, additional capacity from local authorities planned places, and additional capacity being provided through centrally funded programmes (e.g. Free Schools). This capacity is then compared with the forecasts provided by the local authorities to estimate the number of places needed to meet demand in addition to places to be provided by local authorities and through centrally funded programmes.
The starting premise of the estimates is that identification of forecast need and identification of the corresponding capacity is carried out at planning area level (see ‘Definitions’ in the methodology accompanying this release) and national curriculum year group level, i.e. places have to be available in the correct planning area and year group. Further information on how these estimates are calculated, how to interpret them and their limitations is provided in the technical guidance to the school place planning estimates accompanying this release.
According to the data provided at 1 May 2019 and the analysis applied, an estimated 27,000 primary places were needed across England in order to meet demand in academic year 2019/20. Alternatively, looking further ahead, an estimated 53,000 primary places are needed across England to meet demand for academic year 2023/24. This translates to between 6,000 and 7,000 primary places needed each year.
The profile at secondary shows a growing rate of need for places up to 2023/24, with an estimated total of 77,000 places needed in order to meet demand. This translates to an annual need between 8,000 and 12,000 extra places to 2021/22 rising to between 19,000 and 21,000 places needed each year to 2023/24.
Care should be taken with interpretation of these estimates. Please refer to the technical guidance.
In the ‘School place planning estimates’ data file accompanying this release, two versions of place planning estimates are included: one shows estimated additional need only and the other shows estimated additional need minus the estimated number of spare places. The first version identifies places needed only, setting aside spare places identified within the calculation of the estimates. This acknowledges that pressure in one part of a local authority cannot necessarily be offset by spare places in another area. The second version retains spare places within the calculation, and allows for examination of the extent of spare places alongside places needed. This is because it is useful to know the extent of any spare capacity in neighbouring planning areas when making an overall assessment of the places required in an area. The national and regional figures for the second version are not provided as they would be unrepresentative and therefore meaningless, because pockets of demand and pockets of spare places are lost in the aggregation.