What we do
In the school organisation and capital planning team, we are responsible for making sure that there are enough school places for every child in Central Bedfordshire. We do this by securing and delivering the capital investment required to ensure choice and diversity in providing sufficient high-quality school places.
We ensure key data that informs effective, evidence-based school place planning is available, including pupil forecasts, school capacity, suitability for teaching and learning, and the condition of school buildings.
We support the development of local strategies through area reviews that aim to address school sustainability and the need to manage growth and promote partnership activity, and support school improvement. These are the aims of the council’s Partnership Vision for Education 2015 - 2019 (PDF 94.1KB) , which was refreshed in August 2015 and developed in partnership with schools. We also support the rest of the council by evaluating school organisation proposals made by neighbouring councils where they may have an implication for Central Bedfordshire.
Statutory processes regarding changes to schools
We provide guidance to governing bodies that are considering a ‘prescribed alteration’ to their school. For example: a change to their age range or an expansion. We help schools to understand the process that needs to be followed for each proposed change as directed by the Department of Education (DfE).
Revised guidance for academies (link opens in new window) was published by the DfE in March 2016 and the revised guidance for maintained schools (link opens in new window), in April 2016.
We also follow the DfE’s guidance where we are the proposer and/or the decision-maker for proposals that are brought forward by the governing bodies of maintained schools.
We translate the capital investment into proposals for suitable projects to meet the need for new school places. These may be to meet a demand for additional temporary or permanent capacity, or to address school organisation issues within a specific school.
In the last case, we would be interested in maintaining the buildings of existing schools and addressing specific areas within that school, such as health and safety and access to mainstream school for children with disabilities (i.e. social inclusion).
Sustainability in schools
We promote the sustainability and energy efficiency of new and existing schools through our Sustainability Design Brief (PDF 167.5KB) and our energy efficiency services for schools and academies.
School organisation and status
We ensure that the council complies with all legislation, guidance and best practice with regard to school organisation and school premises matters. We also support and advise schools in relation to trust or federation proposals, and co-ordinate the specific tasks required of the council when schools choose to convert to academy status.