School places 2012-2016
Friday, 07 December 2012
Hampshire County Council has published its overarching framework and analysis for school places for the next four years.
At his decision day on 6 December Councillor Perry approved a framework and process for the planning of, and the consultation on, the provision of school places in Hampshire.
Hampshire in keeping with the national picture has experienced a significant rise in births over recent years which, together with housing development and in-migration to parts of the county, has increased the pressure on primary school places.
The framework, which has been developed following consultation with district and borough councils, national park authorities, diocesan authorities, head teachers and Governing bodies, forecasts future trends in predicted pupil numbers based on past and present uptake of places and birth and housing data. It also gives an indication of the need for additional future places and how these may be provided.
The document is intended to be a dynamic, living document which will be updated and developed according to information from Hampshire's thirteen planning authorities, all of which are at various stages in producing their Local Plans. It will be used to inform the development of more detailed district level plans as and when the need arises. This detailed planning for specific areas of the county will then be the subject of specific local consultations.
Commenting Councillor Perry said: "The County Council has a duty to ensure the provision of sufficient school places in such a way that raises standards, manages rising and declining pupil numbers and creates a high quality, diverse community of schools.
"I do appreciate how important it is to parents to be able to secure a place for their child at their local schools. The County Council has a planned investment programme of £161m over the next three years, subject to the receipt of future government grants and developers' contributions. A range of factors impacts upon the demand for school places such as birth rates, housing development, movement of families in and out of the county and parental preference.
"We seek to meet parental preferences wherever possible, and we have a very good record of success in this respect, much better than most authorities, but it must be remembered pupil forecasts are primarily concerned with the total number of school places available in an area. While over subscription of certain schools can give the impression that there is a shortage of school places that is not necessarily the case. It is the number of spare places in an area that we have to balance against the number of children seeking to start school that is the principal factor which we seek to predict and respond to. This is a continual process enabling us to develop detailed local plans for provision as and when needed."