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Information for schools

Infant class size

It is a statutory requirement that all Infant class sizes are limited to a maximum of 30 pupils per one school teacher throughout the school day, except for:

  • school assemblies
  • music lessons
  • drama lessons
  • sports lessons

Additional children above the threshold may be admitted under limited exceptional circumstances.

You can see the infant class size legislation on the Department for Education website.

We are happy to discuss any queries you may have on this.


Growth fund

Growth funding has been created by us to support both the opening of new schools through the local authority free school presumption process and for existing schools which are required to provide extra places to meet basic need within the county.

The growth fund may not be used to support schools in financial difficulty, or which choose to grow through popularity.

Criteria has been set in agreement with:

  • the schools forum
  • the education and skills funding agency (ESFA)

The fund is for the benefit of both maintained schools and academies.

In Staffordshire, any existing school that meets the criteria, will be assessed for growth funding each year. This growth (and associated funding) may occur before the published admission number (PAN) of a school has officially increased.

Eligible schools can receive additional funding for two types of growth:

  • planned growth
  • exceptional growth

This depends on when the need for growth is identified.

We are happy to discuss any queries you may have on this.


Making significant changes to a maintained school

We as well as governing bodies must follow a statutory process when proposing an enlargement of a premises to community, foundation and voluntary controlled schools.

The threshold for following the statutory guidance is triggered when the proposed enlargement of the premises of the school is permanent (longer than 3 years) and would increase the capacity of the school by:

  • more than 30 pupils


  • 25% or 200 pupils (whichever is the lesser)
  • The proposal involves the making permanent of any temporary enlargement that meets the threshold above

We will work together with the school, governing body and any other relevant stakeholders through this process and the delivery of the project.


Making significant changes to academies

Academies must follow their own statutory guidance when making significant changes to an open academy.

A significant expansion for an academy increases the overall physical capacity so that it can provide more than 30 additional pupils. Changing the internal configuration to accommodate more pupils will also meet this threshold.

Significant changes should be fast tracked, or a full business case submitted to the Regional Schools Commissioner, depending on the threshold the significant change meets and of the academy.

We will work closely with the academy to assist with the process and will obtain approval to implement the expansion by a delegated officer of the council.


Net capacities

A net capacity is intended to provide a single, robust and consistent method of assessing the capacity of all schools. By comparison with the number on the roll, it can indicate the number of places that are surplus or additional places that are needed in a school, this assists in pupil place planning for an area.

The net capacity assessment (NCA) method will apply to all mainstream community, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled, foundation schools and academies where a capacity has been agreed.

The net capacity of a maintained school is based on the net area of all buildings that are available to that school which calculate the number of pupil places available.

Academy free schools have funding agreements which are contracts between each academy and the Secretary of State for Education. They set out the terms on which the academy is funded. Amongst other information, they contain the capacity figure for each academy.

We are required by the Department for Education (DfE) to keep an accurate signed copy of the NCA form to provide data to them on an annual basis.

Please note: it is important that all schools inform us if there are any changes to accommodation as these may impact on the net capacity.

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