The NCA programme, run by the DfE from 2023 to 2025 over six tranches, will provide reliable and current data on pupil capacity for all state-funded secondary and special schools in England.  To review if your school is included and what tranch it is in click here

To collect this data, the VOA will visit about 4,500 schools in England and do the following:

– measure rooms
– record room types
– use the NCA tool and methodology to calculate the number of children a school can accommodate, based on the size and use of spaces available

The NCA reports will be shared with:

– schools
– local authorities
– dioceses
– multi-academy trusts

The NCA programme is a vital initiative that aims to collect and provide accurate data on the current capacity of the school estate. This data will help schools and responsible bodies make informed decisions on various aspects of school management, such as admission numbers, admission appeals, curriculum and estate planning.

By having reliable data on the existing capacity of the school estate, the NCA programme will also enable local authorities, who are legally responsible for ensuring sufficient school places, and the DfE, who oversee capital funding for new school places, to plan and deliver high quality school places in areas where they are most needed.   This will contribute to improving education standards by increasing the availability of places in high quality schools.

Having access to local high quality school places is especially beneficial for families, particularly those who are disadvantaged and may have limited travel options. It also supports children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), who require appropriate school places that meet their needs. The NCA programme will help the DfE have a clear understanding of the current capacity of special needs schools and target capital funding for new places for children with SEND more effectively.

Information collected by the NCA programme

All usable spaces will be included in the net capacity measurement. Every space in the school buildings will be listed and measured, including separate stores, garages, and temporary buildings. This is to ensure that there is enough support space available in the school for staff, storage, and other ancillary accommodation.

What will be measured?

• all buildings on any site used by a school.
• other buildings used by the school for at least 80 % of the school week.
• circulation space
• open plan areas

Measured but not included in the NCA calculation:

• early years and childcare facilities
• adult learning and skills facilities
• specially resourced facilities
• parents’ or community rooms and chapels