Presentation on theme: "An independent assurance of the methodology for estimating future pupil numbers and its application Dr Peter Boden April 2008."— Presentation transcript:
An independent assurance of the methodology for estimating future pupil numbers and its application Dr Peter Boden April 2008
Requirements –To assure the methodology for producing population forecasts for Herefordshire to –To assure the methodology for estimating future pupil numbers in local authority maintained schools in Herefordshire and its application.
Assurance process Consultation –Research Team (Corporate and Customer Services) –Accommodation and Forward Planning Team (Children and Young People Directorate) –Representatives from the County’s schools Scrutiny –Data –Methodology Best Practice –Government guidelines
Context – pupil numbers The number of pupils in state-funded schools in Herefordshire has fallen in recent years There is, in aggregate, surplus capacity of 15% in primary schools and 7% in secondary schools
England & Wales Context - Population Pyramids Herefordshire England & Wales Source: ONS Mid-Year estimates, 2006
The Council’s methodology for producing population projections and forecasts is sound However, the latest forecasts for the County (2006-based) did not form part of the development of the projections used for the draft proposals for schools published in January
Principal Population Forecast – For primary school age, a further fall of some 7-8% is estimated between 2006 and 2012, with broadly stable numbers at this lower level thereafter For secondary school age, a further fall of some 16-17% is estimated between 2006 and 2019, with broadly stable numbers at this lower level thereafter Source: Herefordshire Council Research Team
The Council’s methodology for producing projections of future numbers of pupils is similar to that used by other local authorities and follows much of the best practice recommended by Government It does, however, need to be developed in a number of ways to improve the accuracy of projections
Pupil Numbers – NOR since 1993 and projections NB. The projections were generated prior to the production of the latest Population Forecasts. Source: Herefordshire Council, Accommodation and Forward Planning Team, 2008 Actual Number on Roll (NOR)Projection
Accuracy – Primary Schools Source: Herefordshire Council, Accommodation and Forward Planning Team, 2008 This analysis has been completed using data for the last four years. In each case, the analysis presents a comparison of projected numbers against actual numbers in the year immediately following the projection year.
Accuracy – Secondary Schools Source: Herefordshire Council, Accommodation and Forward Planning Team, 2008 This analysis has been completed using data for the last four years. In each case, the analysis presents a comparison of projected numbers against actual numbers in the year immediately following the projection year.
Pupil Projections – necessary improvements Improving the accuracy of projections: –Integration of the long-term picture, –Identification of the potential shortfall in numbers from GP registrations, especially in areas adjacent to the county boundary –The impact of very small numbers on projections for individual schools –Explicit consideration of the impact of cross-border flows and new housing developments –In at least some cases, the use of school catchments rather than primary school districts to estimate reception class numbers –Consultation with local schools and communities to establish the significance of events in previous years and in the foreseeable future that may have a bearing on projected numbers
The recommended way forward
Approval of all future pupil projections by the Council’s Principal Research Officer and the Director of Children and Young People’s Services Phased development, starting with projections for the whole county, then for designated school districts, and only thereafter for individual schools Sensitivity testing should be used for each level of projections, with the use of ranges of possible pupil numbers rather than single figures Phased engagement and consultation with schools should take place to enable the development of mutual understanding and, wherever possible, shared solutions The full implementation of these recommendations should re-establish full confidence in the robustness of future pupil number projections, and so provide an excellent basis for securing a sustainable and successful pattern of schools in Herefordshire