Education sufficiency, school organisation and provision planning

Education sufficiency, school organisation and provision planning

Information on the sufficiency of education provision 0 to 25 years.

The Council has a statutory duty to make sure there are enough childcare places to enable parents to take up or remain in work and training; to have free early years education for all eligible young children in their area; and undertake an assessment of the sufficiency of childcare places in its area at least every 3 years, with an annual update, and publish the assessments in the prescribed manner (Childcare Act 2006)

The Council also has a duty (under the Education Act 1996) to make sure there are sufficient school places for children and young people who live in the county and to make sure these places are of good quality with enough space to promote parental choice and diversity and to undertake an assessment of the sufficiency of school places in its area with annual updates.

Where the need for a new school is identified, the Council should invite proposals to establish a free school (under Education Act 2011).

The Council has a duty (under Education Act 1996), to ensure arrangements for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are kept under review and to secure educational provision made for pupils aged 16 to 18 and over 19 years for those whom an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan is maintained.

The Council has general landlord duties for all buildings which they let to academies (under the relevant academy lease), and for all community school buildings, and overall responsibility for capital strategy including basic need, which applies to all pupils (section 14, Education Act 1996).

In December 2018, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet approved the strategic plan for education place planning in Worcestershire:

To ensure we can meet the above statutory requirements we undertake annual sufficiency assessments for:

  • early years and childcare (including private, voluntary and independent providers)
  • mainstream Schools (including academies and free schools)
  • SEND Specialist provision (including academies)
  • post 16 (including sixth forms and colleges)

These reports are published under the specific sections below.

The annual Education Sufficiency March 2024 Cabinet update can be found here:

Childcare sufficiency

Section 6 of the Education Act 2006 sets out the duty of local authorities of securing, as far as is reasonably possible, sufficient places for children aged 2,3 and 4 to claim their entitlement to funded nursery education, In addition, local authorities should secure sufficient childcare to support parents back to work or to undertake education or training leading to work. 

In 2023 the government announced an expansion of the childcare programme to provide access to supported childcare for younger children and babies for working families and extend 2-year-old funded provision. In addition, and by September 2026, all parents and carers of primary school-aged children who need it should be able to access term time childcare in their local area from 8:00am to 6:00pm, so that parents can access employment and improve labour market participation.

As part of the LA duty, a Childcare Sufficiency Assessment report is produced to set out and consider places available (supply) and potential demand for early years and childcare provision from families in Worcestershire.  A revised assessment is currently underway considering the wider expansion of childcare programme and the supply and demand analysis.

On 21 March 2024, the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Panel received a report update on the developments and the preparations for the assessment of need.

Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2020 (PDF)

School age mainstream education sufficiency

School place planning is crucial to ensuring the Council is able to meet its responsibility and support children within Worcestershire to access a good education. Forecasting is at the forefront of this process and ensures that we are able to work with key partners to build our education provision around the demands of a changing demographic landscape.

The Sufficiency and Provision Planning Team carry out an annual forecast of pupil places based on information from the NHS known children data, school census information, Admissions and planned housing, and this forms the basis for our School Capacity Return (SCAP). For more information on this, see: School statistics and data collection

Mainstream Sufficiency Report 2023 (PDF)

SEND sufficiency (0-25 years)

The Council has a duty (under the Education Act 1996) to ensure there are sufficient school places to accommodate the children and young people who reside in the county and to ensure these places are of good quality with sufficient capacity to promote parental choice and diversity. Section 14 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on Local Authorities to secure educational provision for pupils aged 16 – 18 and over 19 years, and those with special educational needs. Section 315 requires LAs to keep their arrangements for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision under review.

The SEND Sufficiency Report 2023 sets out the education provision available for Worcestershire pupils with SEND and the supply and demand for specialist education provision to meet the needs of pupils living in Worcestershire.

SEND Sufficiency Report 2023 (PDF)

For more information about services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) including The Local Offer, SEND Inspection and updates, please refer to The Local Offer

Post 16 mainstream education sufficiency

Section 14 of the Education Act 1996 places a duty on LAs to secure sufficient suitable education and training provision for all young people who are over compulsory school age but under 19 or aged 19 to 25 and whom an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan is maintained.

The mainstream post 16 report sets out the current demographics and demand for mainstream post 16 places in schools across Worcestershire.

Post 16 Sufficiency Report 2020 (PDF)

School Capacity and Surplus Places

Every year the Department for Education (DfE) asks local authorities with responsibility for education to provide a variety of data to enable Government to predict funding requirements in future years. The Local Authority returns an annual report on the capacity of maintained schools, special schools and specialist resources within schools in Worcestershire. The report also includes surplus places in maintained schools and a forecast of future numbers on roll to assist with predicting shortfalls in school places.

The following is a summary of the June 2023 report to the DfE for Worcestershire mainstream and special schools

School Capacity Collection 2023 (PDF)

Education Capital Investment

The Education Capital Investment Plan sets out the principles and priorities in determining the use of capital funding for education provision. Capital funding for the provision of education to meet the Council’s statutory duties is one element of the WCC Capital Strategy.

Education Capital Investment Plan 2019-2024 (PDF)

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