The pupil projection guide is designed to help LAs make accurate projections of pupil numbers for individual schools on a rolling three-year basis.

The guide is divided into the following sections:

Section 1: Introduction


  • why this guide has been written now
  • who should read the guide
  • how the guide may help you
  • how the guide should be used
  • how local projections complement Departmental projections
  • who the authors of the guide are
  • how accurate current methods are
  • the good practice that underpins the guide.

Section 2: Understanding the context for your projections

A checklist to help you to identify:

  • the impact of trends in your school age population
  • the impact of parental preferences in your area
  • aspects of the school system in your area warranting particular attention
  • what you can learn from accuracy tests and data validation results.

Section 3: An overview of the process for projecting pupil numbers

Showing how the process can be split into three phases in order to:

  • increase pupil numbers for new reception classes
  • adjust existing pupil cohort numbers to take account of "ins" and "outs" from the school population
  • decrease pupil numbers to take account of Year 11 pupils who leave school each year.

It also explains these three phases may need tailoring to take account of local cross-cutting considerations.

Section 4: Projecting pupil numbers at local authority level

Gives an overview of how the pupil projection process works and detailed guidance on how to:

  • project reception pupil numbers
  • project year 1 to year 11 numbers inc. pupil turnover
  • project the impact of transfer years on pupil rolls
  • validate the projections
  • understand the local authority context
  • determine a range of projections
  • account for staggered reception start dates
  • project nursery classes
  • project sixth forms
  • use population data
  • investigate cross boundary flows
  • consider housing developments
  • reflect other developments in projections.

Section 5: Projecting pupil numbers for individual schools

Provides an overview of the process for projecting pupil numbers for individual schools and gives detailed advice on:

  • testing the accuracy of previous projections
  • producing the first cut school level projections
  • projecting pupil numbers for entry classes
  • projecting pupil numbers in other year groups
  • validating and adjusting the school projections
  • sharing the initial projections with schools
  • report the final projections clearly to schools.

Section 6: Cross-cutting issues

Cross-cutting issues affect how to tailor the pupil projection method to fit local circumstances. It includes advice on:

  • what historic data to use
  • what level the initial projections should be at, i.e. the authority as a whole, sub areas or individual schools
  • schools warranting an individual or adjusted projection methodology because of special factors affecting demand for their places.

Section 7: Case studies

These case studies give detailed accounts of how three different local authorities approach the task of projecting pupil numbers. The three authorities are:

  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • North Somerset Council
  • Cornwall County Council.

Section 8: A guide to obtaining further information

Links to websites that contain useful information that may help you make or validate your projections and a glossary of terms which explains and defines technical terms.