FoI responses from SCC & GBC on the need for new secondary school in Normandy

Normandy residents have been very active pursuing Freedom of Information requests in regard of the provision of a 7 Forms of Entry [7FE] secondary school with in the proposed Site A46. It is increasingly important that the information exchanged between Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council is examined by residents in order to inform their responses to the draft Guildford Local Plan (Proposed Submission) in regard of Site A46, the Green Belt land between Normandy and Flexford settlements. Normandy Action Group is publishing the information gathered as a result of his FoI requests to both Surrey County Council and Guildford Borough Council. There remain two FoI requests outstanding at the end of June 2016


SCC FoI Request 13/4/2016 Ref. W10001729

Q. What is the need for a new secondary school in Normandy? Please include information on how birth data, or other information, has been used to forecast the number of secondary school places that will be needed in the Guildford area until 2022 

A. Under Section 21 of the Act, we are not required to provide information which is already reasonably accessible to you. The methodology of projecting school places and the factors considered including birth data to forecast secondary places up to 2022 and beyond is described in the School Organisation Plan. This document is on the Surrey County Council website  

The proposed secondary school in Normandy would serve Normandy, Blackwell Farm and Ash, which could be around 4,366 homes. This number of dwellings could yield around 785 secondary aged children. This estimate is based on formulae that calculate the likely average yield from new developments.  

785 is the estimated secondary yield, which could result in around 157 children per secondary year group.  However, it is unknown the actual numbers and ages of children that would occupy dwellings in a new development. Timing of which years is unknown at this early stage until the phasing and timing of the construction of the new homes is known. 

Further response:

785 is the estimated secondary yield, which could result in around 157 children per secondary year group.  However, it is unknown the actual numbers and ages of children that would occupy dwellings in a new development.  Timing of which years is unknown at this early stage until the phasing and timing of the construction of the new homes is known.

Q. What is the need for a new secondary school in Normandy excluding possible demand created by further housing developments in the draft Guildford plan, and how does this data point to the need for a new secondary school to be located in the village of Normandy?

A. The proposed secondary school in Normandy is required to meet the pupil yield from the developments in the draft Local Plan. Excluding the demand created by the developments in the Local Plan, the school would not be required. This is an infrastructure requirement resulting from the draft Local Plan. 

Q. What is the need for a new secondary school in Normandy including possible demand created by further housing developments in the draft Guildford plan, and how does this data points to the need for a new secondary school to be located in the village of Normandy. 

A. Locating the school in Normandy would allow it to serve developments in Blackwell Farm and Ash as well as Normandy. 

Q. What other sites for secondary schools have been considered in the borough and why have these sites have been disregarded, and why is Normandy the preferred option.

A. Under Section 21 of the Act, we are not required to provide information which is already reasonably accessible to you. The details of the sites considered together with the reasons for rejecting or proposing those sites are given in GBC Land Availability Assessment, from page 529. The document is publicly available on the GBC website on the following page (LAA 2016)

Q. What is the the Published Admission Number [PAN] and total capacity for all other secondary schools, school by school, in the borough and the projected spare capacity of these schools 

a. excluding possible demand created by further housing developments in the draft Guildford plan
b. including possible demand created by further housing developments in the draft Guildford plan 

A.  The  PAN of secondary schools in Guildford borough is 1,426. The capacity of secondary schools in Guildford Borough for years 7 to 11 is the PAN of 1,426 multiplied by 5 years giving a total of 7,130. 

School by school the PANs and capacities are shown in the table below:

School PAN Total places
available (11-16)
Howard of Effingham 240 1200
Christ’s College 156 780
George Abbot 300 1500
Guildford County 160 800 
Kings College 180 900
St Peter’s 180 900
Ash Manor 210 1050

Excluding strategic development proposed in the draft Local Plan, year 7 places are likely to be full to capacity in all Guildford schools by 2019. Numbers are likely to dip a little in 2020 and then increase again in 2021, with little spare capacity. 

Q. What is the possible effect on school places of the reduction in birth-rate over the past few years and what effect will this will have on school place planning 

A. A drop in the birth rate was seen in 2014 and 2013. However, it is unknown whether that will continue. Looking at the last 10 years, birth rates in Guildford have fluctuated with dips lasting no more than two years before an increase is seen again, with the trend increasing overall. 

Q. Projecting on from 2015/16 to 2024/25. what will be the projected Year 7 entry to Secondary schools in Guildford. school by school, and year by year? 

A. Place planning is undertaken on an area basis rather than school by school, and includes a range of factors as well as births.  The projected demand for places is published annually in the School Organisational Plan, which is available on the Surrey County Council web site 

Q. What consideration has been given to enlarging existing schools rather than building a new school 

A. Excluding possible demand from the draft Local Plan, two expansions are planned to meet the existing demographic demand. 20 additional places per year are being provided at Guildford County and 30 places per year at St Peters from September 2017. Statutory consultation and determination on the decision to expand each school has been completed, for which documentation is available on the Surrey County Council website.  St Peters is subject to planning permission.

Including demand from the draft Local Plan, further options to expand existing schools are limited, would not provide for the level of demand from the Local Plan and locations of existing schools would not necessarily serve the developments proposed in the Local Plan.

Q. How pupils will be transported to this secondary school?

A. This will be determined and planned in detail at a later stage. The draft Local Plan includes appropriate train routes. 

Q. What research has taken place to see how the local rural roads will cope with the increase in traffic that the new school will bring, especially with regards to the railway bridge in Westwood Lane which only accepts one-way traffic and has a height limit, and the dangerous hump-back bridge in Glaziers Lane which has a weight limit 

A. As Surrey have not undertaken any specific research on either the ability of local roads to cope with traffic that may be associated with a new school, or on road safety issues specifically related to parents parking on Glaziers and Westwood Lanes, there is no information to provide on these two points. This would be looked at as part of the planning application process. 

Q. What road safety issues concerning parents parking on Glaziers Lane and Westwood Lane to drop off and pick up their children have been considered?

A. As Surrey have not undertaken any specific research on either the ability of local roads to cope with traffic that may be associated with a new school, or on road safety issues specifically related to parents parking on Glaziers and Westwood Lanes, there is no information to provide on these two points. This would be looked at as part of the planning application process. 

The same questions were asked of Guildford Borough Council


GBC FoI Request 13/4/2016 Ref 3186

The reply was:

A.  The documents we hold are attached above (‘LAA Sites Considered for Secondary Schools’ and Guildford Local Plan Education Review’.) The  site list is already in the public domain (in the draft Land Availability Assessment that was considered at Borough, Economy and Infrastructure Executive Advisory Board on 14 April) The Education Review paper produced by Surrey County Council is to be made public with the June consultation papers as evidence in support of the Local Plan. 

The school place planning has been undertaken by Surrey County Council Officers 


SCC FoI Request 26/4/2016 Ref 14503

Q, With regard to Secondary Schools in Guildford Borough, what Free Schools in the secondary sector are there? 

A.  There are no secondary free schools in Guildford Borough.

Q. With regard to the proposed new secondary school in Normandy, can you please tell me which Academy or Free School has approached the County Council proposing sponsorship arrangement for the new school. If neither has made the approach can you please advise me on what basis an approach has been made, and by whom, and how this fits with Government legislation regarding new schools

A. The County Council has not received any approaches regarding sponsorship arrangements for the new school. It has not invited any such approaches as it would be too early to do so at this stage. If and when the new school is progressed, the process to do so would be aligned with the Department for Education's guidance on the establishment of new schools.

Q. Please provide me with information that shows:

1. The planned admission number of the proposed new school in Normandy (how many forms of entry), and how this has been calculated

A.  It is too early to define the admission number of the proposed school in Normandy. This would be largely dependent on the number of housing developments progressed for which a new school may serve, taking into consideration any capacity in existing schools closer to the time when the places are needed.

Further query:

I find this response confusing as the Guildford Borough LAA dated Feb 2016 states clearly, “The site will provide a 7 form entry secondary school.” Does this not equate to a PAN of 210? Why is the response that “it is too early to define the admission number” , given this statement in the LAA

Further response:

The  provisional size is up to 7FE in order to ensure sufficient provision is considered in line with possible housing.

Further query:

In the FOI request W10001729, with regard to this proposed secondary school, you stated, “785 is the estimated secondary yield which could result in around 157 children per secondary year. Is this not PAN of 157, or between a 5 and 6 FE school? Why are the responses different (in one it is 210, and in the other 157), and again, why is the response “it is too early to define the admission number” , given that a number of 157 is given?

Further response:

The number cannot be prescribed at this stage, as this would be dependent on the schemes progressed. 

Further query:

In the FOI request W10001729, with regard to this proposed secondary school, you stated, “The proposed secondary school in Normandy would serve Normandy, Blackwell Farm and Ash, which could be around 4,366 homes. This number of dwellings could yield around 785 secondary aged children. This estimate is based on formulae that calculate the likely average yield from new developments.” 

The Guildford Borough LAA shows the need for a 2FE Primary School at the Blackwell Farm site and I assume these children would move on as a cohort of 60 children to the proposed Secondary School in Normandy. Appendix C of the draft Local Plan, Infrastructure Schedule SED3 states the need for  “A 7FE secondary school at the Normandy site ... only 1FE would be needed to serve the strategic development itself”.  

Further response:

The number of new homes in the Ash area is shown in the Proposed Submission Local Plan on page 27, table 1, published by Guildford Borough Council. 

2. If the proposed intake at the Normandy site is in addition to the extra 3 form entry already commissioned in Guildford town

A. This would be largely dependent on the number of housing developments progressed for which a new school may serve, taking into consideration any capacity in existing schools closer to the time when the places are needed.


SCC FoI Request 15/5/2016 Ref 14606

Q. What capital funding is being provided by the Department for Education for a new Secondary School on the strategic site between Normandy and Flexford that is mentioned in the draft Guildford Local Plan. This is to include any confirmation in writing from the DfE that such resources will be available for the new school. 

A. It is too early for considerations to have taken place with regard to this enquiry; therefore no such documents are available. 

Q. What proposals have been sought to establish a free school on this site via the ‘free school presumption’, or proposals for a new maintained school outside of the competitive arrangements in order to meet demand for a specific type of place. 

A. It is too early for considerations to have taken place with regard to this enquiry; therefore no such documents are available.


SCC FoI Request 9/5/2016 Ref 14586

Q. What considerations have taken place with regard specifically to the need for a new secondary school in the area west of Guildford, taking into account projected housing completions (see highlighted and underlined section above), but not taking into account any additional housing created by the Guildford Local Plan. 

A. Without taking into account any additional housing created by the Guildford Local Plan, there are no proposals for a new secondary school in the area west of Guildford, therefore no such considerations have taken place.


GBC FoI Request 15/5/2016 Ref 3255

Q. What considerations have taken place with regard to:

1.Capital funding being provided by the Department for Education for a new Secondary school on the strategic site between Normandy and Flexford that is mentioned in the draft Guildford Local Plan. This is to include any confirmation in writing from the DfE that such resources will be available for the new school.

2. Seeking proposals to establish a free school on this site via the ‘free school presumption’, or proposals for a new maintained school outside of the competitive arrangements in order to meet demand for a specific type of place.

A. We do not hold the information requested.


GBC FoI Request 25/5/2016 Ref 10014790 & 10014962 (reminder)

I would also like to see all documents etc. between Taylor Wimpey (South West Thames) Ltd   and Councillors or Officers of Guildford Borough Council which relate to the construction of a school on Strategic Site 46 Normandy/Flexford

A.    The information is held by Surrey County Council on this occasion

Further query 9/6/16

With regard to question 2, I cannot understand why there are no documents etc. between Taylor Wimpey (South West Thames) Ltd   and Councillors or Officers of Guildford Borough Council which relate to the construction of a school on Strategic Site 46 Normandy/Flexford, as the school is a key plank in the draft Plan and is the basis to over-ride planning guidelines on this site and build 1,100 homes. I cannot accept, given the importance of the school within the Local Plan, that there have not been extensive talks between GBC and Taylor Wimpey.

I wish to object strongly to your claim that there are no documents held by GBC  with regard to the above questions and  request a review of your decision at the earliest opportunity.

A further query 24/6/2016

Dear Ms Wilmott

Thank you for forwarding this information.

I asked to see all documents etc. between Taylor Wimpey (South West Thames) Ltd   and Councillors or Officers of Guildford Borough Council which relate to the construction of a school on Strategic Site 46 Normandy/Flexford.

You replied, “Please see attached four documents that refer to a school on the site. The representations received from Taylor Wimpey in response to Local Plan consultations are available on our website though the inovem system.”

You have not complied with my request. There will have been much discussion and correspondence between Taylor Wimpey and Guildford Borough Council about the school and you have not forwarded any of this to me. You have forwarded four documents that do not refer specifically to discussions about the construction of a school. And their response to the consultation is not relevant to what I have asked. 

Please forward to me copies of all documents, papers, minutes, analysis and statistics that relate discussions that have occurred between Taylor Wimpey and Councillors or Officers of GBC relating to the construction of a secondary school on strategic site 46.


SCC FoI Request 27/5/2016 Ref. 3281

Q.   Please provide me with copies of all documents, papers, minutes, analysis and statistics etc. that relate to: 

  1. Formal meetings or conversations that have taken place between Councillors or Officers of Surrey County Council and Councillors or Officers of Guildford Borough Council regarding:
  • increasing the intake for undersubscribed schools in Guildford Borough

  • increasing the planned admission numbers for secondary schools in Guildford Borough

  • enlarging existing school premises as opposed to building a new secondary  school in the west of the Borough

A.   Verbal response from SCC School Commissioning Officer:

I was told that there have only been informal discussion.

  1. Formal meetings or conversations that have taken place between Councillors or Officers of Surrey County Council and Headteachers/Chairs of Governors of secondary schools in Guildford Borough, including those just over the County Boundary in Hampshire, regarding: 
  • strategies for increasing the intake, if their school is undersubscribed
  • increasing the planned admission numbers for their school
  • enlarging their school premises to increase their admission number 

as opposed to building a new secondary  school in the west of the Borough 

  • the concern that Headteachers and Chairs of Governors have about a new school reducing the intake to their school 

A.  Verbal response from SCC School Commissioning Officer:

I was told that the School Commissioning Officer discusses issues relating to school roll and premises with Headteachers and Governors. However, the Officer was unable to confirm that any formal meetings or conversations had taken place related to the Local Plan.

4.   Any financial  calculations that have been made to compare the cost of enlarging existing schools in Guildford Borough to cope with increased numbers of pupils arising from the local plan with the cost of building a new school at Normandy, assuming that the serviced land will be provided by the developer.

A.  Verbal response from SCC School Commissioning Officer:

I was told by the School Commissioning Officer that there have  not been any such calculations

I would also like to see all documents etc. between Taylor Wimpey (South West Thames) Ltd   and Councillors or Officers of Guildford Borough Council which relate to the construction of a school on Strategic Site 46 Normandy/Flexford

A.   I  was told by the School Commissioning Officer that no formal conversations had taken place between SCC and the developer


GBC FoI Request 2/6/2016 Ref. 3288 – still awaited

1. The draft Guildford Borough Land Availability Assessment dated February 2016. Site reference 368, land to the south of Normandy and north of Flexford.

In the section re. ‘Transport’, it is stated that “An on and off site cycle network to key destinations including Wanborough railway station and to the Christmas Pie Trail would be needed.”

The Christmas Pie Cycle Trail itself is not mentioned in the Infrastructure Schedule for improvement, and is a convoluted route both east and west, which is unlit, muddy, and passes through dense woodland in places.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I request that you please provide me with copies of all documents, papers, minutes, analysis and statistics etc. that relate to  any formal or informal considerations that have taken place relating to the following.

Discussions that have taken place about the suitability and safety of the Christmas Pie Cycle Trail leading east to proposed development at Blackwell Farm and west to Ash, for children aged 11 – 16 to use, in all weathers and at all times of the year.

2. Odyssey Markides Llp Technical Note dated September 2014

Pedestrian/Cycle Accessibility:

4.3 There may be scope to extend the existing footway from Wanborough rail station along the western side of Glaziers Lane northwards to the potential site access onto Glaziers Lane

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I request that you please provide me with copies of all documents, papers, minutes, analysis and statistics etc. that relate to  any formal or informal considerations that have taken place relating to the following.

The possibility of the construction of this footway  being feasible, given the many obstructions that are in the way.

3. Discounted sites for schools in Guildford Borough

West of Borough

Site - H12 land between Normandy and Flexford

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I request that you please provide me with copies of all documents, papers, minutes, analysis and statistics etc. that relate to  any formal or informal considerations that have taken place relating to the following.

The suitability of this site for a secondary school

Information awaited from Nicky Morgan at the DfE. Forwarded to her by Jonathan Lord

Am I correct in thinking that Surrey County Council or Guildford Borough Council should have already sought proposals to establish a free school on this site, or a maintained school if it is to meet a specific type of place?

Am I correct in thinking that, even if the developer provides the serviced land free of charge to Surrey County Council, the Department for Education would have to provide the funds to actually build the school and the infrastructure? Is it correct to say that, if this is the case, then Surrey County Council or Guildford Borough Council should already have sought funding in order to include the school on the concept master-plan, and if they have not, then the proposal should be rejected and the school should not appear on the plan?

If the proposal for the new school has to be rejected because capital funding for the buildings and infrastructure  has not been approved, or there is no confirmation that resources will be available, am I correct in thinking that the school shown on the strategic site has to be removed from the plans?

Documents to look at:

SCC School Organisation Plan – School places in Surrey 2015/16 – 2024/25

PDF Document – GBC Secondary Schools Borough Wide Discounted Sites

Guildford Draft Local Plan Education Review

Guildford borough Proposed Submission Local Plan: strategy and sites June 2016

Thursday the 15th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 166 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2EB - with thanks to Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template