Academic Year 2020/21

School capacity

Data guidance

Published

Description

This document describes the data included in the ‘School Capacity: Academic Year 2020/21’ Official Statistics release’s underlying data files. This data is released under the terms of the Open Government License and is intended to meet at least 3 stars for Open Data.

The methodology accompanying this release should be referenced alongside this data. It provides information on the data sources, their coverage and quality as well as explaining methodology used in producing the data.

A description of how the school place planning estimates have been derived and how to interpret them is also provided in technical guidance document accompanying this release. Users should read this technical guidance to understand the practical applications and limitations of the data.

Coverage

This release reports on school capacity information in state-funded primary and secondary schools in England in the academic year 2020/21, as of 1 May 2021. Data are as reported by local authorities in the annual School Capacity (SCAP) Survey. Information is included on: 

• The numbers of primary and secondary school places from 2009/10 to 2020/21 (2019/20 data is not available due to the cancellation of the 2020 SCAP survey due to Covid-19);

• Sixth form capacity in schools, where submitted, from 2017/18 to 2020/21 (2019/20 data is not available due to the cancellation of the 2020 SCAP survey due to Covid-19);

• Unfilled school places and pupils in places that exceed their school's capacity; 

• Local authorities’ pupil forecasts up to 2025/26 at primary level and 2027/28 at secondary level;

• Forecasts of places to be funded through housing developer contributions (HDCs) up to 2025/26 at primary level and 2027/28 at secondary level;

• Forecasts of places to be funded through the housing infrastructure fund (HIF) up to 2025/26 at primary level and 2027/28 at secondary level; 

• Local authority planned places to 2023/24, including additional, bulge (temporary places for large cohorts) and places to remove; 

• The department ‘s modelled estimate’s of future number of places needed, up to 2025/26 at primary level and 2027/28 at secondary level.

File formats and conventions

Conventions

The following conventions are used throughout the underlying data.
‘z’ Not applicable.
‘x’ Not available.

Data files

All data files associated with this releases are listed below with guidance on their content. To download any of these files, please visit our data catalogue.

Estimates of future school place demand (place planning)

Filename
school-place-planning-estimates_202021.csv
Geographic levels
Local Authority; National; Regional
Time period
2021/22 to 2027/28
Content

Estimates of future school places needed to meet modelled demand, calculated at planning area level and aggregated to local authority, regional and national level. Estimates reflect the position reported by local authorities at May 2021 through the School Capacity survey, supplemented with data from administrative sources on centrally funded programmes. Excludes sixth form and nursey places.

Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
additional_need_minus_spare_placesEstimated number of places needed: Additional need as positives and spare places as negatives
additional_need_onlyEstimated number of places needed: Additional need only
nc_year_groupNational curriculum year group - Filter by phase and by national curriculum year group. Scroll down and select 'Total' for the sum of all primary and secondary year groups.
Footnotes
  1. z - Indicates data is not applicable. Aggregations of 'Estimated places needed: Additional need as positives and spare places as negative', are given at local authority level only. National and regional aggregations are not produced as they would be unrepresentative because pockets of demand and pockets of spare places are lost in the aggregation.
  2. A description of how these estimates have been derived and how to interpret them is provided in the school place planning estimates technical guidance accompanying this release (see supporting files under 'Explore data and files’).
  3. Estimates reflect the position reported by local authorities as at May 2021 in the 2021 School Capacity Survey, supplemented with data from administrative sources on centrally funded programmes.
  4. Estimates are provided from 2021/22 to 2025/26 for primary (Reception to Year 6) and from 2021/22 to 2027/28 for secondary (Year 7 to Year 11).

Local authority planned changes to school places

Filename
local-authority-planned-places202021.csv
Geographic levels
Local Authority; National; Regional
Time period
2021/22 to 2023/24
Content

Places reported by local authorities in summer 2021 as planned to be added or permanently removed from their school capacity. Includes only projects with firm plans for delivery. Includes sixth form places. Excludes nursey places.

Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
additional_placesAdditional places (permanent)
bulge_placesBulge places (temporary for large cohort)
nc_year_groupNational curriculum year group - Filter by phase and by national curriculum year group. Scroll down and select 'Total' for the sum of all primary and secondary year groups.
places_to_removePlaces to remove (permanent)
Footnotes
  1. z - Indicates data is not applicable.
  2. Cumulative places reported by local authorities in summer 2021 as planned to be added or removed. Includes only projects with a high degree of certainty of going ahead, usually where funding has been committed. Excludes nursery places.
  3. Excludes additional places in projects funded through central DfE programmes, such as Free Schools, unless local authorities have contributed their own funding to deliver additional places to these projects.
  4. Additional, bulge and places to remove are reported cumulatively.
  5. Bulge places are places used to accommodate a specific large cohort. They move through the school with this cohort. Additional places are permanent places that will not move through the school with a specific cohort.

Local authority pupil forecasts

Filename
pupil-forecasts-hdc-and-hif-forecast-places-202021.csv
Geographic levels
Local Authority; National; Regional
Time period
2020/21 to 2027/28
Content

2020/21 pupil numbers on roll from the January 2021 School Census; pupil number forecasts by national curriculum year group as provided by local authorities; forecast number of pupils expected to attend places expected to be funded by housing developer contribution (HDC) agreements; forecast number of pupils expected to attend places expected to be funded by housing infrastructure fund (HIF) agreements. Includes national curriculum year groups from reception to Year 14.

Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
forecast_hdc_placesForecast housing developing contribution (HDC) funded places
forecast_hif_placesForecast housing infrastructure fund (HIF) funded places
nc_year_groupYear group - Filter by phase and by national curriculum year group. Scroll down and select 'Total' for the sum of all primary and secondary year groups.
pupil_forecast_and_202021_actualsLocal authority pupil forecasts (includes 2020/21 actual pupil numbers)
Footnotes
  1. z - Indicates data is not applicable.
  2. Pupil forecasts are provided by local authorities. They include pupils expected to be educated in maintained community, foundation and voluntary schools, city technology colleges, academies, free schools, studio schools and university technology colleges. They also include pupils expected to be educated in new schools (or expanded schools) funded through housing developer contribution (HDC) and housing infrastructure fund (HIF) agreements.
  3. Number of pupils on roll in 2020/21 taken from January 2021 School Census.
  4. Year 13 figures include Year 14 figures.
  5. National pupil forecast figures will differ to the National Pupil Projections published annually by the Department for Education due to methodological and timing reasons. More information can be found in 'Methodology: School capacity'.
  6. Forecast housing developer contribution (HDC) funded places are provided by local authorities. They show the number of pupils expected to attend places that have been funded by HDC agreements in maintained community, foundation and voluntary schools, city technology colleges, academies, free schools, studio schools and university technology colleges. HDC figures are collected and reported on a cumulative basis.
  7. Forecast housing infrastructure fund (HIF) funded places are provided by local authorities. They show the number of pupils expected to attend places that have been funded by HIF agreements in maintained community, foundation and voluntary schools, city technology colleges, academies, free schools, studio schools and university technology colleges. HDC figures are collected and reported on a cumulative basis.
  8. Pupil forecasts, places expected to be funded through housing developer contributions and places expected to be funded through housing infrastructure contributions are provided from 2021/22 to 2025/26 for primary (Reception to Year 6) and from 2021/22 to 2027/28 for secondary (Year 7 to Year 13).

School capacity

Filename
school-capacity_200910-202021.csv
Geographic levels
Local Authority; National; Regional
Time period
2009/10 to 2020/21
Content

Includes number of school places; number of pupils on roll from the May School Census; the number of schools at or in excess of capacity and the number of pupils in places that exceed their school's capacity; the number schools with one or more unfilled places and the number of unfilled places. All data includes sixth form places and excludes nursery places.

Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
at_or_over_capacity_schoolsNumber of schools at or in excess of capacity
count_schoolsNumber of schools
percent_pupils_over_capacityPupils in places that exceed their school's capacity as a percentage of total places
percent_unfilled_placesUnfilled places as a percentage of total places
pupils_on_rollNumber of pupils on roll
pupils_over_capacityPupils in places that exceed their school's capacity
school_main_phaseSchool phase - Filter by school phase
school_placesNumber of school places
under_capacity_schoolsNumber of schools with one or more unfilled places
unfilled_placesUnfilled places
Footnotes
  1. z - Indicates data is not applicable.
  2. Includes community, foundation, voluntary and middle schools as deemed. Includes academies/free schools. Includes sixth form places. Excludes all special schools. Excludes nursery places.
  3. Primary places include all reported capacity in middle deemed primary schools and secondary places include all reported capacity in middle-deemed secondary and all-through schools.
  4. Number on roll figures are taken from the summer (May) census for the relevant academic year, except for new schools (including schools that have become academies) where figures are based on data gathered during the school capacity collection. Number on roll relates to pupils in reception year group and above.
  5. Number of pupils in places that exceed their school's capacity is the difference between school capacity and number of pupils on roll, calculated at school level and then aggregated to national, regional or local authority level.
  6. 2009/10 national, regional and local authority aggregations exclude 13 secondary academies where no school capacity figure was provided. They are included in the school-level underlying data.
  7. For free schools, number of school places includes final intended capacity. Some free schools are initially in temporary accommodation and may not reach final intended capacity for varying periods of time.

School capacity - national only

Filename
school-capacity_200910-202021_national.csv
Geographic levels
National
Time period
2009/10 to 2020/21
Content

Includes number of school places; yearly and cumulative change in the number of school places; number of pupils on roll from the May School Census; the number of schools at or in excess of capacity and the number of pupils in places that exceed their school's capacity; the number schools with one or more unfilled places and the number of unfilled places. All data includes sixth form places and excludes nursery places.

Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
at_or_over_capacity_schoolsNumber of schools at or in excess of capacity
count_schoolsNumber of schools
percent_at_or_over_capacity_schoolsPercentage of schools at or in excess of capacity
percent_pupils_over_capacityPupils in places that exceed their school's capacity as a percentage of total places
percent_under_capacity_schoolsPercentage of schools with one or more unfilled places
percent_unfilled_placesUnfilled places as a percentage of total places
pupils_on_rollNumber of pupils on roll
pupils_over_capacityPupils in places that exceed their school's capacity
school_phaseSchool phase - Filter by school phase
school_placesNumber of school places
school_places_change_from_200910Net change in number of school places since 2010
school_places_change_from_previous_surveyNet change in number of school places since previous SCAP survey
under_capacity_schoolsNumber of schools with one or more unfilled places
unfilled_placesUnfilled places
Footnotes
  1. z - Indicates data is not applicable.
  2. Includes community, foundation, voluntary and middle schools as deemed. Includes academies/free schools. Includes sixth form places. Excludes all special schools. Excludes nursery places.
  3. Primary places include all reported capacity in middle deemed primary schools and secondary places include all reported capacity in middle-deemed secondary and all-through schools.
  4. Number of pupils in places that exceed their school's capacity is the difference between school capacity and number of pupils on roll, calculated at school level and then aggregated to national, regional or local authority level.
  5. X - indicates data not available. 2019/20 data not available due to the cancellation of the 2020 School Capacity survey due to Covid-19.
  6. The 2020/21 net change in school places since previous survey is not comparable to previous years, as the time period for the change is two years rather than one year.
  7. 2009/10 national, regional and local authority aggregations exclude 13 secondary academies where no school capacity figure was provided. They are included in the school-level underlying data.
  8. For free schools, number of school places includes final intended capacity. Some free schools are initially in temporary accommodation and may not reach final intended capacity for varying periods of time.

School sixth form capacity

Filename
school-sixth-form-capacity_201718-202021.csv
Geographic levels
Local Authority; National; Regional
Time period
2017/18 to 2020/21
Content

School sixth form capacity as reported by local authorities; sixth form pupil numbers on roll from the May School Census. School sixth form capacity was collected as a voluntary field in the 2018, 2019 and 2021 School Capacity surveys.

Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
reported_sixth_form_placesReported sixth form places
schools_with_sixth_form_capacity_reportedNumber of schools with reported sixth form capacity
sixth_form_pupils_on_rollSixth form pupils on roll in schools with reported sixth form capacity
Footnotes
  1. x - Not available. No sixth form capacity data submitted for schools with pupils on roll in year groups 12, 13 or 14 in this geographic area.
  2. z - Not applicable. No schools with pupils on roll in year groups 12, 13, or 14 in this geographic area.
  3. LA reported sixth form capacity data was collected in the May 2021 School Capacity survey as a voluntary field. LAs reported sixth form capacity for 99% of schools with sixth form pupils on roll.
  4. Includes sixth form capacity in community, foundation, voluntary and middle schools as deemed. Includes sixth form capacity in academies/free schools. Excludes all special schools.
  5. Sixth form pupils on roll includes pupils in year groups 12, 13 and 14 taken from the May 2021 census. In a small number of schools the sixth form pupil on roll may include pupils from separate providers, where no corresponding capacity can be reported for the school in SCAP.
  6. For free schools, number of school places includes final intended capacity. Some free schools are initially in temporary accommodation and may not reach final intended capacity for varying periods of time.