SCHOOL ORGANISATION PLAN
2002/3 – 2007/8
THE PROVISION OF SCHOOL PLACES
The School Standards and Framework Act (1998) requires Local Education Authorities (LEAs) to prepare a School Organisation Plan (SOP) for their area on an annual basis. The plan has to cover a five year period and deal with:-
“How the authority proposes to remedy any excess or insufficiency of primary and
secondary education in schools maintained by the authority during the period to which the plan relates”
“The provision which they [the LEA] propose to make during that period for children with special educational needs”
This version of the SOP for Nottinghamshire covers the period 2002/3 – 2007/8; a
six year period – rather than the usual five – as a consequence of the introduction of
the new school capacity assessments during 2002. The December  deadline for completing the assessments, and for submitting the outcomes to the DfES, effectively meant that publication of the 2002 SOP to its usual time line would have resulted in a plan whose basic information on school places would be superseded within a couple of months of it being issued. It was therefore agreed, in conjunction with the School Organisation Committee, that the 2002 plan should be deferred until all of the relevant information on schools‟ new capacities was available for inclusion.
Accordingly, a preliminary draft  SOP was presented to the SOC in March
2003. It was agreed that this version should be updated and modified to form the basis of a six year plan, published in 2003, which:-
; Includes the 2003 pupil projections and other statistics (e.g. PLASC data), which
were not available at the time the preliminary draft  SOP was put together.
; Incorporates the requirements of the proposed new regulations and non-
statutory guidance on school organisation planning that the DfES are presently
These are due to come into force from June 2003 and the DfES have advised
LEAs to take account of them in constructing plans even though they are still in
; Identifies school organisation planning priorities for the five year period 2003 –
; Provides an analysis of school places across the six year period 2002 – 2008 in
order to give some overall statistical continuity from the most recent published
SOP in 2001.
The plan aims to provide the context for local decision-making on the provision of early years, primary and secondary education in both mainstream and special schools. It brings together a range of information on the supply of, and demand for, school places across the County and identifies issues that may have a bearing on future proposals to increase or reduce the number of places at individual schools. __________________________________________________________________________________
School Organisation Plan 2002/03 - 2007/08
However, there are no specific school-related projects outlined within the plan, these will be drawn up as part of the ongoing work of the LEA in respect of school organisation planning. The purpose of this plan is to provide the framework within which the authority will develop its proposals for school organisation and the consequent and capital investment programmes to support these through the Asset Management Plan (AMP).
SCHOOL ORGANISATION COMMITTEE
The School Organisation Committee (SOC) is the statutory decision-making body, which brings together the key stakeholders in school organisation matters. Although formed by the LEA, it is a totally separate body, chaired by a school governor and with legal and procedural advice provided by its independent secretary. Membership of the SOC includes representatives of:-
; School Governors
; Anglican Diocese of Southwell
; Roman Catholic Dioceses of Nottingham and Hallam
; The Learning & Skills Council (LSC)
; Elected Members of the County Council
The SOC has two main functions:-
a) To approve the School Organisation Plan.
b) To make decisions on statutory proposals submitted to it arising out of the
SOP e.g. changes to the pattern of school provision or modifications to the
character or age range of particular schools.
In making decisions on statutory proposals, each of the above groups has one vote, and the committee decisions must be unanimous to be accepted. If not, the proposal is referred to an independent adjudicator appointed by the Department for Education & Skills (DfES) for a final decision.
School Organisation Plan 2002/03 - 2007/08
Section 1 General Context
1.1 Nottinghamshire‟s demographic & economic context
1.2 Provision of school places
1.3 Pupil projections
1.4 Spare / surplus / unfilled places
1.5 Policies and principles for school organisation planning in
1.6 Provision for pupils with special educational needs (SEN)
1.7 Asset management plan
1.8 Review of actions in last year‟s School Organisation Plan (SOP)
Section 2 County-wide Pattern of Provision and Priorities for Action
2.1 Early Years Education
2.2 Education 5 – 18
2.3 Small Schools
2.4 Denominational Schools
2.5 Special Schools
2.6 Priorities for Action 2002/03 – 2007/08
Section 3 District-by-District Analysis
This section provides an overview of the provision and organisation of
school places within each of the seven districts and provides a summary
of the key issues that should be addressed during the period of the plan.
In this SOP, it is an „executive summary‟ for each area, and may be read
in isolation from the remainder of the document as a „Ten Minute Read‟ if
3.1 Ashfield area
3.2 Bassetlaw area
3.3 Broxtowe area
3.4 Gedling area
3.5 Mansfield area
3.6 Newark area
3.7 Rushcliffe area
Section 4 Best Value and other Statistical Analyses
School Organisation Plan 2002/03 - 2007/08
SECTION 1 – GENERAL CONTEXT
1.1 NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’S DEMOGRAPHIC AND ECONOMIC CONTEXT
Nottinghamshire is a County of great diversity, with the spread of advantage and disadvantage across the seven administrative districts enormous. The highest levels of disadvantage are in the districts of Mansfield, Ashfield and (parts of) Newark & Sherwood. However, the districts of Rushcliffe, Broxtowe and Gedling, which largely form the suburbs around the city of Nottingham, are relatively advantaged. That said, a key feature of school provision in these areas is the movement of pupils from the city into Nottinghamshire schools. This means that the school populations do not fully reflect the socio-economic make up of the district in which the school is located.
The county continues to face problems of large pockets of poverty and social exclusion, relatively poor economic performance and low levels of enterprise. The unemployment rate within the county is higher than that within both the east midlands and the country as a whole. The highest levels are in those areas of the county traditionally known as coal mining areas. One of the key problems faced by the LEA in striving to improve school performance is in raising low aspirations and the low value given to education in areas where high employment in [well-paid] textile and mining industries was once widely available to school leavers.
1.2 PROVISION OF SCHOOL PLACES
The LEA has a statutory duty to ensure that a school place is available for every child of school age whose parents wish them to have one. Where pupil projections indicate that there is likely to be a shortage of places over the projection period, there are processes that enable this to be addressed - for example through a capital project or by a realignment of catchment areas.
Central government has a clear policy and expectation that surplus places should be removed from the overall supply of places wherever possible. Maintaining unnecessarily empty school places is costly and LEAs are required to keep the position under review and take action to remove surplus places
1.3 PUPIL PROJECTIONS
The LEA has a well-developed pupils on roll forecasting system. This
provides pupil forecasts for individual primary and secondary schools (excluding special schools), including data on both nursery and sixth form provision. Summary reports are available for district analysis and an overall County projection is also provided (source: January PLASC data).
Data is collected from a wide range of sources to provide an accurate projection:-
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; Post coded birth data is collected annually from the local Health
Authorities and is analysed on a Geographic Information System (GIS), to
provide future numbers at 4+ in school catchment areas.
; The accommodation / capacity of schools is updated annually to reflect
changes in accommodation, and/or to incorporate new requirements e.g.
DfES net capacity figures. Designated nursery class capacity is also
; Actual numbers on roll (Sept) form the basis of the projection. Also Head
teacher estimates are incorporated, and the previous year‟s projection (by
age group) is also displayed for comparative purposes.
; Information on new housing developments is collected from the District
Planning Authorities. The estimated effect on school places from new
housing is based on 0.22 primary pupils per dwelling, and 0.16 secondary
pupils per dwelling. These ratios have been cross-referenced with the
2001 Census to ensure they represent accurate data.
Numbers on roll are projected via a cohort survival method. A rolling three-year average admission or transfer figure is calculated based on historical data, which takes into account migration of pupils both in and out of their designated catchment area. This approach is also used to calculate sixth form numbers on roll. The standard set of projections may also be remodelled to take into account local knowledge of a particular school or individual circumstances.
One of the main objectives of the projection system is to provide management information to aid decisions about school organisation planning, including:-
; Identifying future shortfalls in school places to assist in capital
; Identifying surplus places
; Investigating school reorganisation proposals, and rationalisation of
schools e.g. amalgamating infant / junior schools
; Early years provision and class size proposals i.e. KS1.
Information from the projection system has been used to model the future Countywide picture on school places arising from the introduction of net capacity and the consequent changes in admission limits that this brings for schools.
Price Waterhouse Coopers have been conducting a Value for Money (VFM) Study into planning school places over a number of years, which has included commentary on the accuracy of the pupil forecasts used by Nottinghamshire LEA. The 1999 report showed an error rate of 0.34% for primary and 0.64% for secondary forecasts – both comparing favourably
against the Audit Commission benchmark of 1.5%. In 2001, the error rate was 0.2% for primary and 1.5% for secondary – against a new benchmark of 1.0%.
Since this time there have been some adjustments to the secondary school forecasts to address the above forecasting error.
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1.4 SPARE / SURPLUS / UNFILLED PLACES
There are a number of expressions to describe difference in the number of school places provided by the authority and the number of pupils demanding places – either at a particular school or across the County as a whole. Each of these has a slightly different definition and is used variously by the DfES, and the LEA for discrete and/or specific purposes. This can sometimes cause a degree of confusion in the more general dialogue about school organisation planning with local stakeholders. This document uses the following expressions and definitions.
This is a measure of the overall „slack‟ within the school places system. It is neither possible nor desirable to remove all spare places i.e. to reach position where there is a perfect match between the number of school places and the number of pupils across a discrete area. There has to be some slack within the system to allow for natural migration of the population, the exercise of parental preference, new housing and demographic changes in an area. It is desirable to have some 'spare' capacity both within individual schools and across an area simply to give some room for manoeuvre within and between schools.
The LEA typically assesses spare places by looking at the largest number of pupils on roll (NOR) at a school or group of schools across a given period and comparing this with the capacity of the school(s). This measure is used when the LEA is asked to respond to local planning authorities about the education implications of potential housing developments within a Local Plan.
'Surplus' places, on the other hand, are those school places that could be removed without detriment to the overall pattern of provision in an area. They are most frequently the consequence of demographic change, particularly in areas serving an ageing population, or as a result of schools being perceived as not providing a sufficiently high standard of education compared with other schools in the area.
Surplus places are calculated by comparing the NOR and the capacity of the school(s). This measure is used when the LEA is seeking to make a bid to the DfES for funding to provide additional accommodation to address a shortfall of school places.
The number of „unfilled‟ places is the criterion by which the DfES makes
national comparisons on statistics about school places. This is usually a snapshot of the NOR compared to the number of school places available. Significantly, it takes account only of those instances where a school is
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operating below capacity (i.e. the NOR is less than the capacity of the school). Unlike the measure of surplus places described above, it does not offset these with the instances where there is a shortage of places (i.e. where the NOR is greater than the capacity of the school). Hence the number of unfilled places is always likely to be greater than the number of surplus places, which in turn is greater than the number of spare places.
1.5 POLICIES & PRINCIPLES FOR SCHOOL ORGANISATION PLANNING IN
The key drivers for managing school places in Nottinghamshire continue to be:-
; Standards – Achieving our targets for improving standards in schools and
meeting our aims for raising aspirations and promoting community
; Quality – Improving the physical learning environment for pupils by
investing wisely in the school building stock.
; Quantity - Ensuring that any surpluses or shortages of places are
identified as early as possible and that appropriate steps are taken to
; Location - Ensuring that not only are the right number of places available
but also that they are in the right locations.
; Sustainability - Ensuring that schools are both educationally and
; Housing growth - Ensuring that the consequences of increased pupil
numbers arising from developments in new and emerging Local Plans are
recognised and accommodated.
; Green issues - Ensuring that, wherever possible, schools are located in
such a way as to reduce the number of vehicle journeys associated with
getting children to and from school. Ensuring that any school capital
building projects are as environmentally friendly as possible.
These will continue to set the framework for planning the pattern of school provision. In developing proposals for changing this pattern, whether by creating new schools, expanding or reducing the capacity of existing schools, amalgamating or closing schools, the LEA will additionally have regard to the range of factors set out below.
; The contribution any proposal would make to school improvement
In working to achieve the overriding goal of maintaining what is good in
schools and improving what is not, the LEA will deliver cost-effectiveness
in the provision of school places, combining efficient use of resources with
curriculum quality and learning environments. This has led to our vision
for the Education Service: „Learning Together, Achieving Success‟, which
is supported by six overall aims:-
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； Provide high quality education.
； Ensure all young people have the opportunity to learn. ； Encourage everyone to develop and achieve.
； Promote lifelong learning.
； Prepare all young people to contribute to society as responsible
； Aim for excellence in everything we do.
The LEA shares the suggestion contained in the standard educational text ‟15,000 hours‟ (Rutter et al) that effective schools are linked with „the provision of a clean, comfortable and well-maintained physical environment for students (pupils)‟.
LEA officers work closely with senior curriculum managers in schools in ascertaining and providing accommodation which meets the demands of st21 century curricular innovation and expectations. The provision of suitable accommodation for these innovations is a major factor in which school organisation planning impacts positively on school improvement and the raising of standards
; The place of the school within its local community
Priority six within the Education Development Plan 2002-07 – Building
Learning Communities – reflects the key role that schools can, and do, play within their local community. Our aims for raising aspirations and promoting community regeneration can best be achieved by working through a partnership of pupils, parents, teachers, schools, governors, the LEA, and the wider community. In planning school places, the wider needs of the local community, and the school‟s role in meeting these, will be set alongside the range of other factors.
; The development of Specialist Schools
In supporting the development of specialist schools, the LEA aims to support its schools to:-
； Raise standards – both in the specialist subject(s) and across all
； Attain additional resources
； Improve teaching and learning
； Develop, promote and spread innovation and good practice ； Develop and improve primary/secondary liaison in order to improve
； Develop and improve community links
； Develop learning communities across the county
； Contribute to regeneration and social inclusion
； Collaborate with other schools, colleges and external agencies in
order to raise standards, generate innovation and widen learning
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