Report to follow
The Committee considered a report of the Director of Education which sought to inform of how the Council coordinated school place planning with new development. The report also provided additional information about the role of strategic planning and a high level overview by school place planning area.
The Committee had requested additional information on this point at its last meeting when a report on school places had been presented.
The report author, the Lead Member for Education, the Corporate Director Place and the Head of Early Years, School Places and Access were in attendance to present the information and address the questions and comments of the Committee.
Officers informed of the key strategic priorities for school places and provided examples of how school basic need funding had been utilised to expand 29 schools, providing additional 3,681 school places for the Borough. Trafford Council had been commended by the Department for Education (DfE) for its effective and efficient use of basic need funding.
Officers illustrated how the DfE’s methodology to determine the number of additional school places needed was different from the local authority’s calculation which only considered the number of pupils who resided in the area. This led to a significant discrepancy between the figures reported by the DfE and those indicated by Trafford Council in its local sufficiency assessment.
Officers informed of how the number of pupils who wanted to attend schools in Trafford and who resided out of the area was higher in secondary schools. The reason for this higher demand was the selective education system which featured in the Borough. Officers also indicated that school places for 2021/22 had been provided. Consequently, the Council’s statutory duties had been met. Officers noted that the challenge would be to achieve a balance between a sufficient numbers of school places and overprovision as places could only be provided in multiple of 30.
Officers outlined the role of Strategic Planning and the system in place to process planning applications in relation to education contributions. Officers provided data on School Place Planning Areas which showed the number and
type of schools, supply of places and type of places and the pupil yield calculation from the Strategic Housing and Land Availability Assessment. This information helped officer to estimate future demand for school places.
Members sought clarification on a number of matters such as apparent discrepancy between education contribution seen at Planning Committee and content of today’s report, efficacy of pupil yield formula and suitability for today’s demand, sufficient spaces in primary schools for local pupils during the next five academic years and plans for new schools in Sale.
Officers responded that there were many schools in Trafford which had potential for expansion. Birth rate in Trafford was declining. The calculation on pupil yield was done with reference to new development. The Council focused on protecting local pupils but this was complicated where schools were their own admission authority and there was only one secondary school where the Council was the admission authority. Since April, the Council had secured £2M in Section 106 contribution for education and provision for new a school in the Borough. Timing of contribution had to be considered as it would be paid at a point during development. The Council would look at significant developments ensuring that new schools were included in a way that would be coordinated with existing provision.
RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.