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Professional Resources

Allocation of S106 contributions for the development of mainstream and special school places

This extract from the Leicestershire Planning Obligations Policy, was adopted by the Corporate Schools Group on the 19 September 2018.

The allocation of S106 contributions also includes County Council maintained schools and academies.

Background

Prior to the introduction of academies (following the Academies Act 2010), subsequent age range changes for primary and secondary schools, changes to admissions policies and catchment areas, S106 funds were allocated by the County Council to the schools whose catchment area encompassed the new development or were located nearest to this.  There were exceptions to this to address circumstances where the school might not be capable of physical expansion, or governors were opposed to this, although such cases were very rare.  The subsequent change to mainstream home to school transport policy, which now provides free transport only to the nearest available school (assuming this is above statutory walking distance) further served to render the application of past practice more difficult.

In view of the change that has occurred it is now more appropriate to take a more considered approach to the allocation of S106 contributions to schools, in reaching a decision on allocation the County Council will therefore take account of the following matters.

School Performance

As the County Council’s statutory duty is to have a strong supply of high quality school places, consideration will be taken of the current Ofsted inspection judgement for the schools concerned, and data and performance (including results of statutory tests for pupils).  It is expected that in keeping with DfE guidance that only Outstanding, Good or improving schools would be considered for the allocation of funds.

Distance from the centre of the new development to the School

It is expected that in most circumstances the proximity of the school to the new development will still be a key factor in determining allocations, as the County Council would be liable for transport costs where schools were above statutory walking distances, or if a safe and accessible walking route was not present. 

Ease and extent of adaptations needed to create further places

The County Council has a duty to ensure that it achieves value for money and available funding for school expansion is used effectively.  Consideration will therefore be given to the ease of expansion of schools, taking account of construction requirements, planning matters including potential access and environmental issues.  The amount of expansion required will also be considered and recognises that some schools will already be at capacity whereas others may have some existing surplus space.

Admissions policy

As the additional places are being provided for pupils from the new development any restrictions in the admissions policy will need to be carefully considered before any agreements are entered into.

Ability to meet specific learning and development needs

This is of particular importance in the allocation of SEND funding and where it is expected that the school may be located some distance away from the new development.

Parental preference

This will be an important factor for determination of the allocation of funds.  The County Council will take account of current patterns of admission and pupil movement within the locality of the development.

Views of Governors and Trustees

Consideration will be given to the views of Governors and Trustees, particularly in the event that they do not support expansion of their school.  Where consideration is being given to the expansion of Faith schools this will also include the views of the respective Diocese

Views of the Department for Education

In circumstances where any school is known to be under scrutiny by the DfE, or in the case of academies would be subject to approval to a significant change business case to enable expansion, then advice will be sought from the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Status of the school

Whilst this should not be a barrier to school expansion, the status of the school, particularly if where land may not be owned by the Local Authority, or may require third party consents for adaptations, could add complexity to matters.

It should be noted that the County Council decision in relation to the allocation of S106 funds to schools will be final

(It should be noted that some historic S106 agreements specifically name a school or schools and therefore may remove the discretion of the County Council to give consideration to some or all of the above matters.)

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