The 2021 Camden Annual School Places Planning reporting incorporates all underlying demographic data including: existing provision and capacity, actual registered births, and fertility, the latest GLA resident forecasts for births and their relationship to school rolls, GLA resident population and school roll forecasts, together with the additional pupils associated with new housing developments. The analysis is used to help us make informed decisions about the future organisation of school places at primary and secondary. This year, the Council has also included a review of its planning of places for pupils with special education needs and disabilities.
Our understanding of the current demographic pressures facing schools has also informed the development of Camden’s new Education Strategy. It will be the purpose of the strategy, and our continued school organisation work, to ensure that our school system is sustainable and stable, offering the best outcomes for our residents.
Recent school place reports have identified significant changes and a high level of volatility in demography at a national and local level. Over the last 5 years there has been a significant reduction in demand for pupil places within Camden. Forecasts for this year have been drawn up at a time of unprecedented change and challenge for families in Camden. Specifically, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have fundamentally altered people’s lives, the impacts of which are significantly reducing the level of demand for places anticipated within the current forecasts. These factors create a significant degree of uncertainty, and a less stable environment in which to plan ahead. The GLA modelling aims to account for these as best as they can but rely on assumptions of future trends that can only be accurately assessed over time.
We consider that it is too early to be definitive about the medium-term impact on school rolls of the new forecast figures given the hugely disruptive impact of Covid. We will need to consider carefully current admission numbers and next year’s school roll projections before we can come to any firm conclusions beyond the difficult action the Council has already taken in removing available school places. The impact on pupil rolls of the recent arrival in Camden of significant numbers of children and young people, including asylum seekers and Afghan nationals, is also not yet known.
Ensuring Camden has the right number of school places is both the Council’s statutory responsibility and aligns with our Camden 2025 priorities. Preventing schools becoming financially vulnerable and thus subject to unplanned change, helps maintain strong, safe, and open communities. Good and outstanding schools promote independent healthy lives and support strong growth and jobs.
The attached zipped file includes:
• 2021 Camden Annual School Places Planning Report
• Appendix A: General (with Tables 1-5)
• Appendix B: Primary (with Tables 1-7)
• Appendix C: Secondary (with Tables 1-6)
• Appendix D: Additional (with Figures 1-6)
• Appendix E: Latest housing development trajectory and estimated child yield
• Appendix F: Glossary of school places planning abbreviations, report references
• Appendix G: A narrative description and guide for interpreting the forecasts and data provided
• Appendix H: Special Education Needs and Disabilities analysis