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Schools: Admissions

Question for Department for Education

UIN 4254, tabled on 11 July 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will set out which English local authorities have a total of five per cent or more surplus school places in (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) all schools.

Answered on

20 July 2017

The Department collects information on the capacity of schools and the number of pupils on roll as part of the annual School Capacity (SCAP) survey. A school is identified as having surplus places if the capacity is higher than the number of pupils on roll.

The latest information on the number and percentage of surplus places at local authority level can be found in tables A2 and A3 of the ‘School Capacity: academic year 2015 to 2016’ release at:

An efficient system requires a degree of unfilled or surplus places at any point. Retaining a reasonable level of surplus places provides for parental choice and allows local authorities to manage shifting demand for places. A range of factors contributes to the level of surplus places held. For example, surplus places can be evidence of local authorities planning ahead of future need, as the increase in pupil numbers at primary level over recent years begins to move into secondary level. Unfilled places can also be attributed to the building of completely new schools, which fill up year by year, leaving space in the upper years.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.