Quarter 1 - June 2019
This objective is centred on trying to reduce the gap between the number of places available in mainstream education provision for 4 – 18 year olds and the number of pupils (October census). The Department for Education (DfE) recommends that local authorities, wherever practicable, maintain a minimum of 5%. surplus places to enable them to meet their statutory duty with operational flexibility (families relocating to a specific area) and enabling there to be an  element for  parental preference.
To ensure we meet our target a number of activities are ongoing
  • An annual review of schools capacity and consideration is given to each schools situation when the bi-annual review of projected pupil numbers is undertaken
  • A programme of expansion to existing schools is ongoing
  • Monthly discussions with the DfE Free School Group regarding existing Free Schools, the Free School Programme and locations
  • Continuous review with all District & Boroughs on major development and progress against their housing targets.
  • In pressure areas, additional places are negotiated with schools as required.
  • An Annual review of school place planning will be undertaken in the Autumn term and reported early 2020.
Quarter 4 - March 2019
This objective is centred around trying to reduce the gap between the number of places and the number of pupils (October censuses). The DfE recommend that local authorities, wherever practicable, maintain a surplus of places above pupil numbers of no more than 5%. This is to ensure there is an element of parental preference and spaces for families that move into an area. Reducing the number of surplus places ensures better use of available resources but does restrict greater parental preference.
Quarter 3 - December 2018 performance
West Sussex County Council had 127,323 school places available as of October 2018. This was an increase from 126,143 places in October 2017 and was the result of expansion projects to provide additional accommodation in existing schools to cater for an increase in demand in the urban areas of the County. 
 Based on the house building trajectory’s provided by the District & Boroughs , in October 2022 the County Council is anticipating  121,197 pupils to be needing school places across West Sussex. This won’t necessarily lead to a reduction in the number of surplus places as many of these housing developments are in areas of the County where spare capacity within existing schools is limited. And in this timeframe a number of new Free Schools, approved by the Secretary of State, will be operational in some areas of the County.
 In October 2018, the number of pupils on roll at all West Sussex schools totalled 113,930.  The County Council is working towards achieving a  maximum of  5% surplus  places across the County although this figure may vary in the 24 individual planning areas. This 5% figure is nationally recognised and allows for parental preference and late movers into an area to be offered a place at a preferred named school wherever possible.
Additional School Places delivered (%Buffer)
This objective is centred around trying to reduce the gap between the number of places and the number of pupils (October censuses). The DfE recommend that local authorities, wherever practicable, maintain a surplus of places above pupil numbers of no more than 5%. This is to ensure there is an element of parental preference and spaces for families that move into an area. Reducing the number of surplus places ensures better use of available resources but does restrict greater parental preference.
Quarter 1 - June 2018 performance
To ensure we meet our target a number of activities are ongoing:-
·        An annual review of schools capacity and consideration is given to each school’s situation when the bi-annual review of projected pupil numbers is undertaken.
·        A programme of expansion and extension of existing schools is ongoing.
·        Monthly discussions with the DfE Free School Group regarding existing Free Schools, the Free School Programme and locations.
·        Continuous review with all Districts and Boroughs on major developments and progress against their house building targets.
·        In pressure areas, additional places are negotiated with schools as required.
·        An annual review of school place planning will be undertaken in the Autumn Term and report early 2019.

October 2017 performance

West Sussex County Council had 126,143 school places available as of October 2017. This was an increase from 125,483 places in October 2016 and was the result of extra accommodation being added to schools. In March 2022, the County Council is targeting 120,645 pupils to be filling school places across West Sussex. In October 2017, the number of pupils on roll at West Sussex schools totalled 112,834. The County Council is working towards a maximum of a 5% surplus of places across the 24 individual planning areas to allow for parental preference and late movers into an area.

Further details about the principles of school place planning and a breakdown of data by District & Borough Council areas can be found at:

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-plans-and-policies/school-plans-policies-and-reports/planning-school-places/

 Background
To ensure we meet the target and maintain a buffer we have:-
  • A programme of expansion and extension of existing schools.
  • Keep in touch with the Department of Education to try and influence Free School award and location where possible.
  • Match local demand to local authority housebuilding programme and district and Borough planning.
  • The annual consultation process school place planning which includes on any changes to school capacity is rigorously applied to meet legal requirements.