School organisation and provision planning
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 enough 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.
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.
As part of this duty an annual Childcare Sufficiency Assessment report is produced to set out and consider places available and current demographics.
Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2020 (PDF)
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 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).
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 is made 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.
Worcestershire County Council has a policy on Education Inclusion which was approved by Cabinet in 2010. The policy informs the practice and standards for all Worcestershire County Council employees and those in education settings for which the county council has a responsibility or that it commissions and against monitoring by the Local Authority (LA) will take place.
Education Inclusion policy (PDF)
The 2017 High Needs Commissioning Review (HNCR) detailed a need for more special school places in Worcestershire. Worcestershire Children First are currently seeking to identify and implement several measures to respond to the findings of the report and ensure a sufficiency of SEND places in Worcestershire. The SEND Sufficiency Report 2020 sets out the current demographics of SEND in Worcestershire.
SEND Sufficiency report 2020 (PDF)
Find the latest updates about services for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) including The Local Offer, SEND Inspection and High Needs Commissioning Review please refer to The Local Offer
Post 16 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 post 16 report sets out the current demographics and demand for post 16 places in schools across Worcestershire.
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 in Worcestershire and numbers of surplus places in those schools. The report also includes a forecast of future numbers on roll to assist with predicting shortfalls in school places.
School Capacity Collection 2022 (PDF)
Resources and further information
Worcestershire County Council School Organisation Plan 2019 (PDF)
Policy on instigated a review on Small Schools in Worcestershire 2018 (PDF)
Process for the Local Authority commissioning a new Free School in Worcestershire (PDF)
Process for ensuring a sufficiency of places should an academy close (PDF)
Worcestershire County Council Change of Age Range Criteria (PDF)
Department for Education Guidance Securing Developer Contributions for Education - November 2019
Department for Education Guidance School organisation
Local Government Association 'The council role in school place planning'