HC Deb 21 July 2004 vol 424 cc274-5W
Mr. Gibb

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the surplus places rule was abolished. [184632]

Mr. Miliband

There has been no formal surplus places rule. In the past, local authorities bid for capital support for new pupil places in areas where there was pupil growth, to meet their statutory duty to provide sufficient school places. In assessing the bids, my Department took account of places in surrounding schools in coming to a view on how many additional places to support each year. However, capital funding for school buildings can come from a number of sources, including other capital programme authorities' own resources and agreements with developers.

From 2004–05, against a background of rising capital investment in school buildings, and in order to simplify the process for allocating resources on pupil places criteria, we have moved to making allocations by formulae.

In addition, from 2003-04 we have set up a dedicated capital stream and issued guidance that has a strong presumption in favour of expansion to enable successful and popular schools to expand.