Each local authority in England is responsible for its own school forecasting. This is done by using similar demographic data, but each model is bespoke to each local authority. Using these models enables them to make assumptions that are used to derive primary and secondary school forecasts specific to each area. However, a more consistent approach based on national pupil projections would improve school forecasting. It would make it easier to compare data and enabling each local authority to optimise their resources.
In order to develop our prototype National Pupil Projection model for England, we have used GIS technology to derive primary and secondary school Planning Areas using Thiessen Polygon data methods. Based on these Planning Areas we are then able to compare local authority model assumptions and outputs, primary and secondary school forecasting, including school intake and school-year progression. Thus, setting the basis for quantifying the likely impact of new housing growth.
These analysis tools not only enable us to compare the data provided by each local authority with regards to school place forecasting but also helps us optimise their resources. Additionally, using the same demographic model allows for more accurate national pupil projections.