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Assessing the Net Capacity of Schools

The capacity of a school is the number of pupil places available. The net capacity is intended to provide a single, robust and consistent method of assessing the capacity of schools.


The guidance document 'Assessing the Net Capacity of Schools' has been updated.  The revised document (ref. DfES/0739/2001 REV) is now available here as a PDF document (454kb). This document describes the 'net capacity assessment method' which replaces all previous methods of assessing the capacity of maintained mainstream schools in England. The guidance explains why the new method has been introduced, how it works, and what needs to be measured. It gives examples of completed net capacity assessment forms for both primary and secondary schools.  Working versions of these examples are also available to download (see below).

For a copy of the original covering letter of 12 November 2001, from Mukund Patel, Head of Schools Building and Design Unit, please click here.

Details of the key amendments that the revised version of the guidance document incorporates can be downloaded here (665kb). 

Submission of Net Capacity Information to DfES

Mukund Patel’s letter of 11 November 2002 to CEOs, which included guidance on the submission of net capacity information between 29 November 2002 and 20 December 2002 is available here (221kb).

Net Capacity Assessment Method for Secondary Schools

For a copy of Tamasin Dale’s letter of 28 June 2002, which gives details of adjustments made to the net capacity assessment method for secondary schools, please click here (32.5kb).

Assessment Forms

Blank versions of the forms for primary schools (including middle deemed primary) and secondary schools (including middle deemed secondary) are available here as Excel files:

Click here for the latest version of the technical note which should be read before completing the assessment forms. This gives information on some common problems encountered when using the assessment forms. Computer networks commonly incorporate 'firewalls', intended to protect against viruses, which may prevent downloading these Excel files. Any problems or queries should be referred to

Example Assessments

The 3 example net capacity assessments shown in the guidance are available in full here as working Excel spreadsheets:

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the relevant category below to see answers to frequently asked questions:


Last updated: 03 December 2002

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