How do surplus places affect the resources available for expenditure on improving outcomes for pupils? - May 2012

Summary

The report identifies and explains issues to do with surplus places in schools, including methods for evaluating the associated costs and the impact of removing surplus places.

Recommendations

The Welsh Government should:

  • consider the adoption of a standardised method to be used at a national level across all schools in order to identify the average cost of surplus places and surplus schools;
  • promote the reduction of surplus places as evidence of better resource management and impact on school improvement rather than as an end in itself;
  • work with local authorities to develop and promote good practice in evaluating the impact of school reorganisation schemes;
  • require local authorities to conduct impact assessments on school reorganisation schemes where Welsh Government money is being used to support implementation; and
  • work with local authorities to identify those school organisation and asset management strategies that contribute most positively to outcomes for learners and promote their use across all local authority consortia.

Local authorities and local authority consortia should:

  • ensure strategic leaders prioritise school organisation and asset management, taking into account the impact on school effectiveness;
  • engage all elected members, officers and headteachers in the drive to free resources in order to invest in improving outcomes for learners;
  • carefully monitor and evaluate all school reorganisation projects in order to identify freed resources and their impact on improving outcomes for learners;
  • improve officers’ use of all available data to drive strategic developments and evaluate their impact, using challenge from the authority’s scrutiny arrangements; and
  • work collaboratively within consortia to promote good practice, particularly in relation to identifying and implementing action to address underperformance.

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