The provision of education and childcare places for children and young people aged from 0-25 years was considered at Cabinet today with endorsement for the council’s Education Sufficiency Update.
The report outlines the current situation, any pressures and the impact of new housing developments. Warwickshire’s update breaks sufficiency down into four categories.
For the 0-4years cohort, across the county as a whole there is sufficient capacity for Early Years and childcare places for all who require it through childminders, nurseries and out of school clubs and holiday clubs. Demand is set to rise with the impact of housing developments and the Update report highlights the various means with which that will be met including new school developments, developer funding for expansions, collaborations with schools to develop or expand early years services and a recruitment campaign to increase childminder capacity.
From the age group of 4-16 years, the picture over the last 15 years was reported, with the County Council having met the need created by housing development for an additional 20,000 places. An additional 15,000 places are forecast to be needed over the next 15 years.
These places have been created by the opening of 11 new schools since 2010; six primary schools, two secondary, an all-through and three special schools along with several permanent expansions. Over the next 15 years, seven new schools will accommodate the increased need alongside expansion projects.
At secondary level, Warwickshire is forecasting a 7% increase in total pupils between 2023-29. Secondary schools will be required to take a small number of pupils over the capacity in most year groups and in most areas partly due to the impact of new housing developments bringing in new families.
Post 16 education is showing that there are sufficient places for the next two years and where demand is set to grow, the County Council will work with schools and colleges to meet it.
For pupils with SEND the trend is for increased demand. The number of pupils with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) has been rising by an average of 9% year on year for five years. Demand is lower in the primary age range and can be met largely by Specialist Resource Provision (SRP) at schools. The need increases at secondary stage and will be met by SRP and expansion of provision at special schools. An ongoing review will lead to further recommendations.
Cllr Kam Kaur, portfolio holder for education, said: “Education sufficiency is vital not only in the County Council fulfilling its legal obligation to provide a school place for every child and young person aged 4-16 years. It is also key to our commitment to providing the very best education for our young people.
“With its economy having expanded and more people seeking to live and work in Warwickshire, it is inevitable that there will be added pressure on schools and other settings to provide sufficient places. It was good to see the update having plans in place so that we can meet that commitment now and into the future.”
The report to Cabinet and Annual Sufficiency update report can be found here
More information about Education and Learning in Warwickshire can be found here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/education-learning