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Educating Generation Z

Our clients in the residential sector often ask for our support in effective planning for education places. This ensures that their proposals for new homes are sustainable and that appropriate mitigation is incorporated within scheme design or through developer contributions. Given the scale of population growth and the importance of education provision in planning for sustainable communities, the requirement to appropriately plan for new school place provision will continue to be under the spotlight. But how are the ways in which the Department for Education and Local Education Authorities plan for education changing in the age of Generation Z?*

Generation Z – individuals born between 1995 and 2010, the majority of whom are of school age

A New Breed of Education Challenges

We previously wrote on some of the challenges faced in planning for education places. The issues associated with planning for changing education needs will continue to evolve. We have identified what we consider to be critical factors which will shape the future of education planning in the era of Generation Z and will have an impact on planning for sustainable communities as part of new residential development:

  • Changes in construction methods
    Modular construction will influence the quantum of space required per pupil, generating different requirements for safeguarded land within masterplans or for expansion of existing schools. The question here is how flexible will this be to different sites and locational contexts. The Department for Education anticipates that modular construction will result in reduced build costs. We would expect to see this factored in to a Local Education Authority’s cost per pupil place over time, with a direct reduction on developer contributions.

  • New education delivery arrangements
    Building bigger (Titan) schools accommodating 2,000 pupils but divided into a number of ‘mini’ schools to enable effective management. Will this be an exclusively urban response given catchment distances and school size? And how will this affect restrictions on pooling of developer contributions?

  • School-led mixed-use
    The Department for Education is seeking site opportunities suitable for school-led mixed use residential development. To date this has primarily focused on London. It presents an opportunity for residential developers to act as a more definitive funding catalyst for new school provision and to create a more integrated response to place making.

  • Increasing pressure at secondary level
    The bulge in primary age pupils we have seen over the last 10 years as the population of England has grown rapidly is now progressing to secondary age. The Department for Education’s latest pupil population forecasts (published 12 July 2018) show that nursery and primary population is projected to stabilise and then fall from 2019. However, for now, the opposite trend is seen for secondary where the school age population is set to continue to increase, until 2025. The pressure on places is likely to become an issue at secondary level particularly in London and the South East as Generation Z moves up through the system. Local Education Authorities in these areas will be increasingly likely to look to housing developments as part of the delivery solution. The Government is also responding through enabling new grammar schools and faith schools.

And what of those hot on the heels of Generation Z? Generation Alpha are those born after 2011 and growing up in a total technology age. For these school pupils of tomorrow the education system could be quite different.

These new issues and approaches create new considerations and opportunities for our residential developer clients. Should you wish to know more about how these changes affect your scheme in planning for Generation Z please contact Amy Gilham, Antony Pollard or Maxine Kennedy in our Economics team in relation to education impact assessments.

Our Planning team also supports clients to bring forward education facilities. Contact Sara Dutfield if you would like more information on a specific education development proposal.

More information can be found below.

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Turley Education Impact Assessments

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13 July 2018 

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