Will Targeted Basic Needs Funding tackle shortfall of primary places in areas where they’re most needed? The data suggests not.

Janet Downs's picture
“Today I am announcing the outcome of the applications to the Targeted Basic Need programme. The programme was launched in March this year to provide additional funding for school places in areas where they are most needed.”

David Laws, 18 July 2013

But are the extra school places in areas where the shortfall in places is most acute?

73 LAs were awarded funding – 16 were in the top 20 primary shortage hotspots*. 4 of the top 20 hotspots received no Targeted Basic Needs Funding (TBNF): Central Bedfordshire, Redbridge , Slough and Waltham Forest. These four areas have a total projected shortfall* by 2014/15 of 16,928. But TBNF will not fund a single primary place in these four local authorities (LAs).

TBNF awarded to LAs in 16 of the top twenty hotspots is not always targeted at primary schools**:

Barking and Dagenham has a projected shortfall of 7,445 primary and 1,378 secondary places. TBNF will provide c2,000 secondary places but none in primary schools.

Barnet needs 2,301 primary places, TBNF will provide 840.

Bedford receives TBNF for 2 lower schools (ages 3-9) which will relieve pressure on these schools but will only provide 270 of the 3,422 primary places needed.

Birmingham has a projected deficit of 6,050 primary places; TBNF will provide 126 special school places but no primary ones.

Brent needs 3,461 primary places; TBNF will fund 240.

Bristol requires 6,349 primary places; TBNF will fund 3,270. It’s unclear, however, whether money allocated to The Dolphin School, a primary academy which opened in September 2012, will fund an extra 300 places or will go towards the already planned new building designed to accommodate 420 pupils.

Coventry needs 3,586; TBNF funds 1,050.

Ealing needs 4,698; TBNF will provide 210 places at one primary school which is bursting at the seams.

Croydon's projected shortfall is 2,902; TBNF will provide most of the required primary places***.

Enfield needs 3,107; TBNF provides 1,469.

Hillingdon’s shortfall is 3,872; TBNF pays for 2,110.

Hounslow: 2,918 primary places needed; TBNF funds 1,562

Newham requires 4,595; TBNF will fund 44 places at a special school but not a single primary place.

Tower Hamlets needs 2,433 primary places; TBNF is targeted at one secondary school. No primary places are funded.

Waltham Forest’s shortfall is 4,235; TBNF provides 1,890.

Wokingham requires 1,703 primary places. TBNF provides 195.

With the exception of Croydon, then, TBNF will not fund all of the primary places needed in the top twenty primary hotspots. It could be, of course, that funding to address any shortfall in primary places will come from a different source****. However, TBNF has been promoted as providing extra places “where they are most needed”.

The figures above show that TBNF alone will not relieve pressure on primary places in 19 of the 20 local authorities with the largest projected shortfall. 8 of the top twenty receive not one penny of TBNF money to fund primary school places.


NOTE: TBNF does not include land purchase. “The site or land will be contributed by the LA for the purpose of the school build or expansion and DfE will not provide funding for this.” The DfE expects that any land proposed for a new school is likely to be already owned by LAs. This could put large areas of land such as parks or existing school playing fields at risk.

*data from New Schools Network using Department for Education figures shows the projected shortfall in primary places for 2014/15

**I have assumed that the “Expected number of places to be provided by LAs” refers to extra places.

***Croydon’s expected number of places includes 7 new schools. I have assumed that four new schools with a capacity of 420 are primary schools. Two of the proposed new schools have a capacity of 630 and one will have a capacity of 1150. I have assumed these three are secondary schools. If, however, one or more of the 630 capacity schools are primary schools, then the proposed shortfall in Croydon would be more than wiped out by TBNF.

****Examples of other sources of funding include:

1 LAs’ own borrowing;

2 LA sale of land;

3 Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations which allow LAs to set a financial levy on new developments within the LA;

4 Devolved Capital Funding for Community Schools;

5 Voluntary Aided (VA) Schools Basic Needs;

6 The Free Schools programme.

Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee the 100% accuracy of the figures. My eyes began to swivel with checking so many figures on a tiny print out. Please let me know if you notice an error and I’ll apologise and put it right.

UPDATE: 27 July 2013.  The thread has been changed to correct a spelling error: I spelt Wokingham as Wolkingham.  Apologies.

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