HC Deb 18 February 1992 vol 204 cc119-20W
Mr. William Powell

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the Department's criteria which(a) a secondary school and (b) a primary school has to meet in order to qualify as a basic need case.

Mr. Fallon

Basic need is defined as the net deficit of places after account is taken of demand for, and places available, in all maintained primary schools within two miles and all maintained secondary schools within three miles, of the school at which it is intended that new places be added.

This was set out in full in my Department's letter of 30 May 1991, which invited LEAs to bid for annual capital guidelines and voluntary school capital allocations. That letter and a subsequent letter of 19 August 1991 made clear that basic need bids in 1992–93 should be for deficits of places in 1994–95 in primary schools and 1995–96 in secondary schools. It was also made clear that in assessing the availability of places in neighbouring schools, LEAs' calculations should be based on whichever was the higher of the schools' capacity or their numbers on roll in September 1992.

We are currently reviewing our basic need definitions, as we do each year in advance of the publication of the capital bidding letter. We shall take account of representations received on our methodology from LEAs and others. We have also announced that we are consulting local authority associations, voluntary bodies and grant-maintained schools on a change in our capital allocations methodology which would allow popular schools to expand notwithstanding the existence of spare places in other maintained schools in the area.

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