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New guidance on education contributions

In April 2019 the Department for Education (DfE) published new non-statutory guidance for Local Education Authorities (LEAs) on requesting developer contributions. This supports the latest updates in the PPG outlining when education contributions should be requested.

What are the changes and clarifications?

The new guidance provides some clarification of what we consider to be best practice. The most important aspects of the new guidance are:

  1. Education is a local responsibility: The onus is on LEAs to provide guidance and robust data about their own area, and should work with developers to agree practical solutions. The DfE has an important role to provide guidance and overall framework to LEAs to help them make the right decisions.
  2. Joint working between education and planning teams is encouraged: Education authorities are expected to work jointly with local planning authorities as plans are prepared to ensure all education needs are properly addressed and reflected in development plans.
  3. It’s not just primary and secondary schools: The guidance advises education authorities to seek developer contributions towards early years, sixth forms and special educational needs (SEN) education. At Turley we are seeing this in action through more requests for SEN education contributions.
  4. New settlement phasing must be considered carefully: The timing of the delivery of schools in new settlements should be co-ordinated carefully to ensure that it effectively serves new residents and does not undermine the viability of existing schools.
  5. Pupil yield calculations should use the most up to date data: DfE expects education authorities to base their pupil yield calculations on the latest available data. In some cases we have found that LEAs are using out of date data (including data deriving from the 2001 Census of Population). Elsewhere we have found that where pupil yield ratios are based on new housing surveys, this does not accurately reflect the number of children in the long term. Often a higher number of families move into housing development once complete, meaning that the total number of children will decrease over the longer term.
  6. DfE are planning to remove the pooling restrictions: At the moment an LEA cannot pool more than five S106 contributions to the same school project. The government are planning to remove this restriction (for all contributions, including education), which will have important implications for developers. We will keep you updated on how these changes will affect education contributions.

What does this mean for developers?

The DfE is seeking to provide clarity to local authorities by providing them an overall framework on which to base their decisions. The PPG clarifies and reminds LPAs that developer contributions are an important part of new school funding (see paragraph 007). At the moment we see differing levels of analysis and guidance across LEAs; following the DfE’s publication we may expect to see LEAs becoming more robust with their evidence and requests for contributions. Developers need to continue to ensure that contributions mitigate the impact of development, and that the contribution is compliant with the CIL (2010) Regulations.

Our education service at Turley

We regularly work with our clients to estimate the impact of residential schemes and negotiate contributions.

  • We specialise in analysing the impact of residential development on education provision.
  • We act on behalf of clients, providing robust data and carrying out S106 negotiations with LEAs across the country.
  • We have saved our clients over £3.3 million in education S106 by ensuring the contributions reflect the direct scheme impact, based on the most robust available data.

If you would like to know more about our approach or to discuss a specific scheme, please contact Maxine Kennedy or Amy Gilham.

8 May 2019