Decision details

Education Capital Programme (Secondary Schools Expansion)

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


To consider the Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and skills setting out proposals to provide increased secondary places and the provision of specialist education places throughout the City.



(i)  Approve the commencement of consultation on the proposals and options detailed in the report and appendix 1.

(ii)  To delegate authority to the Service Director for Children and Families to enter into (or continue) and conclude discussions with:

·  the Winchester and Portsmouth Diocese and St. Marks Primary School in relation to proposals for a new school on the St. Marks Primary School Site;

·  approach the Portsmouth Diocesan Trust, Governors and the Head Teacher of St. George Catholic College to consider expansion by 300 places; and

·  the Portsmouth Diocesan Trust, Academy Trust, Governors and Head Teacher of St. Anne’s Catholic College to consider expansion of the school by 300 places.

(iii)  To delegate authority to the Service Director for Children and Families to engage with the Regional School Commissioner and the Department for Education to consider alternatives and options for the operation and funding of the construction of the new secondary school.

(iv)  The outcomes of any proposals following consultation with the Council’s Capital Board be submitted to a future Cabinet meeting for approval.

(v)  To note that the Service Director – Finance & Commercialisation has delegated authority to vary the Secondary School Expansion scheme within the Education Capital Programme in response to any change in requirements around the specification of the projects following consultation within the approved overall funding of the scheme.

Reasons for the decision:

1.   Council approved an addition to the Education Capital Programme on the 21st February 2018 of £67.45M for the Secondary Schools Expansion scheme. This was subject to a further report to Cabinet detailing the options for statutory consultation. These are detailed in full in Appendix 1 and summarised in paragraphs 8 to 12.

2.  There is an expected requirement to increase the overall number of secondary places in the city by 1,500 places, in the Central Planning region, in order to accommodate the demand for secondary places by 2023.  There is a statutory duty placed on local authorities to provide sufficient school places as set out in s.14(1) of the Education Act 1996. 

3.  Additionally, Southampton City Council (SCC) is bound by the Prescribed Alterations to Schools Regulations 2013 which sets out the statutory consultation framework required to make any amendments to schools. Building a new school and expanding existing schools falls within these regulations. 

4.  The vision set out in Appendix 1 goes beyond the provision of buildings and accommodation. The proposals are to provide quality places that support, underpin and facilitate the Educational Strategy, Aspirations and Vision for the Council.

5.  Section 5.0 of Appendix 1 details the programme brief for the Secondary Expansion Programme including the nature of the demand for school places; the extent of the demand; where and when the demand will manifest and the Capital Investment required to fulfil the demand along with the proposed capital projects to deliver the required outcomes set out in the recommendations.

6.  The proposed programme of works required for the Secondary Schools Expansion Scheme is based on robust forecast predictions for the next five years up to 2023; after 2023 a further review will be required to determine future provision beyond this date. 

7.  A programme for the scheme will be drawn up detailing the Programme Vision, Governance, Timelines, (including all statutory consultation), Risks,  Issues and  Communications Plans in order to deliver the outcomes successfully.  This will be used for the management and delivery of the projects.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1: Do nothing.

This option will lead to a failure to deliver against the statutory duty to provide sufficient places; s.14(1) Education Act 1996.  The expected demand for secondary school places exceeds the existing capacity within the City by 2020.  The current total capacity of all secondary schools in the City is 12,080 places.  In 2023 based on the lowest demand forecast there will be a requirement for 13,600 places across the City this an increase of around 1,500 places.


Option 2: Expansion only strategy.

This is not recommended due to site considerations not providing enough capacity in existing secondary schools.  The requirement to deliver 1,500 additional secondary places cannot be fulfilled by solely expanding existing schools for three reasons (i) site constraints: (ii) time constraints: and (iii) geographical constraints as the bulk of the demand for additional places manifests in the Central region of the city and there are only three schools in the Central Region.


Option 3: New (1500 Place School). 

The strategy of fulfilling all future demand through the construction of a single school is not recommended. This is because (i) there are no suitably large and available sites in the Central Region of the City to build a school of this size; (ii) the earliest a new school could be delivered would be September 2022 and the shortfall in places manifests in 2020 and 2021; and (iii) this option does not offer good value for money and would not provide the number of places when required.


Option 4: Recommended.  Expansion & New Build.

To build a new 900 place school in the Central Region and expand two existing schools to create a total of a further 600 places.  This is the recommended option as it provides the required places when and where they are needed and offers best value for money.

Other Relevant Matters Concerning the Decision:


Report author: Paul Atkins

Publication date: 17/07/2018

Date of decision: 17/07/2018

Decided at meeting: 17/07/2018 - Cabinet

Effective from: 26/07/2018

Accompanying Documents: