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Pupil numbers forecast

The Local Authority has the statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places for all Norfolk children aged 4-16. Part of the LA's process to manage school places is to provide school forecast information.

The pupil forecasts are informed estimates of the number of pupils that there will be in individual schools over a 10 year period. To ensure the most accurate of forecasts we gather information on housing, health and admission detail relating to parental preference patterns. This ensures we are able to build the most robust forecast possible and it is regularly reviewed to assist with up to date decision making.

Forecast information is a requirement in a number of Department for Education returns, as well as being integral element that support decisions where there is growth or decline in the local population, they allow information to be shared and used for planning by schools across the county.

It is important to note that pupil forecast are estimates. The forecasting methodology seeks to achieve a high level of accuracy by using real birth data and trends associated with the parental preference over a 3 year period. Over the 10 year period there will be unknowns that cannot be reasonably predicted. For example, economic shifts can alter rates of new house build, the popularity of individual schools through parental preference can suddenly and unexpectedly change.

The pupil forecasts and the admission number consultation system are available within the "My School" section of this site and the information can be accessed by individual schools or by Trust's.

Forecast information are updated annually and will be available by the start of each academic year. We recommend reviewing the forecast information to ensure planning for future situations is accounted for, and proactive changes can be made where necessary. It is vitally important the forecasts are reviewed in conjunction with the annual Planned Admission Number Consultation which the local authority oversees.

The local authority has a statutory duty to manage the planned admission number for all schools, as part of the admission code. The local authority is the decision maker for Community and Voluntary Controlled schools, and are the admissions coordinator for Academies, Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools. Using the forecast information available, we will contact all schools, academies and trusts to advise on a reasonable PAN for each school that will account for the local pupil factors across the County. It is important we use the information and opportunity to work together to support future planning in schools.

Some Place Planning deadlines have been included below to support schools and trusts with organising their year around vital information sources that may become available:

  • School Capacity Return is completed and submitted to the DFE by the end of July - This information is used to create the forecast detail held by the LA.
  • School Planned Admission Number consultation is conducted to plan for the expected admission number - October through to January.
  • Schools Local Growth and Investment Plan is submitted to cabinet - January each year.
  • The Early Years Childcare Sufficiency Report is created and posted online - No later than January each year.

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