Publication Local Plan, Chapter 13: A learning city

Creating a fairer Salford by:

  • Maximising the ability of all residents to acquire knowledge and skills throughout their lives, thereby enabling them to take advantage of the varied social and economic opportunities available
  • Enabling all children to have a good start in life through the provision of appropriate early years facilities
  • Ensuring appropriate provision of school places throughout the city, so that all children can enjoy a high quality education
  • Maximising the benefits of the University of Salford for the city

13.1 Learning is transformative. It opens up new opportunities for people, not just in terms of jobs but also the ability to pursue interests and make new connections. It empowers people to make more active choices and protect their rights, as well as to adapt to changes in society and in their environment. The act of learning itself can make us more positive and reduce social isolation, and the results can improve health and wellbeing. Learning will be key to the move towards a more sustainable city, tackling deprivation, supporting economic growth and delivering social value.

13.2 In this context, delivering a learning city needs to be all-embracing. Academic learning will be a central component, but the concept extends beyond formal education to include learning opportunities throughout our lives, from early years learning to apprenticeships and work-related training, and through to increased participation of older people.

13.3 Whilst there have been some considerable improvements in educational performance in recent years, Salford remains below the national average for key indicators and there are also large disparities in educational attainment across the city. Improving educational performance will depend on a very wide range of factors, many of which are outside the influence of planning, but the continuing enhancement of education facilities will have an important role to play.

13.4 Other parts of the plan will also support the continued development of Salford as a learning city, including by encouraging developers to provide training opportunities for Salford residents and sign up to the City Mayor’s Employment Charter (policy F2), supporting the development of training facilities in existing employment areas (policy EC1), enabling the expression of ideas by supporting artistic and cultural activity (policy CT2), providing high quality new homes that can help to attract and retain skilled workers (chapter 11), enabling people to understand better their local history (chapter 20 on heritage), and enhancing Salford’s digital infrastructure which opens up the widest possible range of learning opportunities (policy DG1).

Early years, schools and post-16 education

13.5 The demand for education places in an area can change quite rapidly, not just because of the impacts of new housing, but also due to changes in the birth rate and the type of households migrating into and out of the city. Over recent years, Salford has experienced a very significant increase in the requirement for early years and primary school places, and this is now starting to cascade through to the secondary sector. New housing over the plan period will create an additional requirement for education places over and above this, and the need for further expansion across all age ranges is anticipated. This is likely to involve both the extension of existing facilities and the provision of new buildings, responding to changing patterns of demand and the Government’s commitment to widening educational choice.

13.6 Delivering improvements in education facilities is likely to require a reasonably flexible approach given the availability of sites and the competing demands for land resources in Salford. Nevertheless, it will be important to ensure that schools and further education facilities function effectively in the long-term, and do not suffer from locational or design failings that significantly constrain their ability to deliver improved learning outcomes. It will also be important to ensure that education facilities are welcomed by the surrounding communities rather than having a significant negative impact on them, for example by enabling facilities to be used as a community resource and addressing concerns about transportation issues such as car parking.

Policy ED1 - Early years, schools and post-16 education facilities 

Improvements in the quality and accessibility of early years, schools and post-16 facilities will be supported. 

New early years, schools and post-16 facilities shall: 

  1. Be highly accessible to their intended catchments, particularly by walking, cycling and public transport;
  2. Be located, designed and managed to minimise the impacts of associated traffic and car parking on the surrounding area;
  3. Provide high quality indoor and outdoor facilities suitable for the intended number and age range of students; and
  4. Wherever practicable and appropriate, provide for the community use of playing fields and other facilities. 

A flexible approach will be taken to the reuse and redevelopment of redundant education sites, particularly where this would support the provision or improvement of education facilities elsewhere in the city. Such sites may be protected for educational use where this is necessary to secure an appropriate scale and distribution of education facilities to meet future needs.

Residential development and education places

13.7 It will be vital to the sustainability of local neighbourhoods that new housing developments support the delivery of the additional education places for which they generate the demand, otherwise there may be problems of overcrowding and people may need to travel inappropriately long distances to access early years facilities, schools and further education colleges. This may involve residential developments making financial contributions to the provision of new places and/or setting aside land/space within the development for their provision.

13.8 The preferred approach is usually to expand facilities on their existing sites, but this is likely to be increasingly difficult as many buildings have already seen recent extensions. Consequently, some of the larger major developments will need to incorporate additional education provision within their sites. Information on the average number of pupils of different ages that would be likely to occupy any new dwellings, and the average capital cost of providing additional education places, will be updated and published regularly. Where costs cannot be updated annually, they will be increased in line with the Retail Prices Index (all items).

Policy ED2 - Residential development and education places 

Where a residential development would contribute to a projected shortfall in education places, it shall enable an increase in education places proportionate to the number of people aged 0-19 that it is likely to accommodate. This will typically involve making a financial contribution to the expansion of an existing education facility or the provision of additional education facilities in other locations that can meet the needs of the development. 

For each relevant type of education provision, the scale of any financial contribution will be calculated using the following formula: 

  • Financial contribution = Pupil yield factor x Cost per pupil place

Where it is not practicable for the city council to expand capacity within existing education facilities sufficient to accommodate the additional requirement for education places that will be generated by a major development, and there are no alternative solutions available in this regard, the city council will negotiate with developers to secure the setting aside of land to accommodate additional education provision. Land set aside for education provision should be in a location and of a size and shape that enables criteria 1-4 of policy ED1 to be met. 

In accordance with policy PC1, development will only be permitted where planning conditions and/or planning obligations are in place to address any projected shortfall in education places. In all cases, development shall be phased so that the education places are delivered before demand exceeds existing capacity. 


This policy applies to all education places required to meet the needs of those aged 0-19 years, including special educational needs, and both temporary and permanent needs where relevant. 

The pupil yield factor for a particular type of education provision is the average number of people of the relevant ages that would be expected to occupy the proposed dwellings. This will be calculated using evidence from recent residential developments. 

The cost per pupil place is the average capital cost of creating an additional education place through new-build construction and/or extension. The most up-to-date published cost at the point of an application’s determination will be used. 

Major development is defined as in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, as amended, or any successor to it.

University of Salford

13.9 Universities have a key role to play in supporting a learning city and economic growth, not just in terms of increasing the number of people with high level qualifications but also through their research activities, links to the business community and the creation of spin-off companies. The University of Salford currently has around 19,000 students, with a strong reputation for delivering high quality teaching, undertaking world-class research, and facilitating business enterprise. The university is a hugely important institution for the city, and one of its largest employers, making a significant contribution to the local economy. It forms part of a much larger concentration of student and academic activity at the heart of Greater Manchester, with the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University only a short distance away.

13.10 The University of Salford is particularly well-located to take advantage of, and support, the economic growth opportunities in the city, with its main Peel Park and Frederick Road campus located at the western end of the City Centre, and its MediaCityUK campus at the heart of the concentration of media and digital industries in Salford Quays. There are numerous opportunities within the employment areas around these campuses to significantly increase business links with the university, including at Salford Innovation Park.

13.11 The University of Salford is delivering a transformational programme to enhance its facilities, particularly within the Peel Park and Frederick Road Campus, which will enable it to compete successfully for students and offer the best possible learning environment. It will be important to carefully manage improvements so that their benefits for Salford are maximised and any adverse impacts on surrounding areas are minimised. The use of a clear development framework, produced by the university in consultation with key stakeholders, will help to ensure that activity is properly coordinated. Enhancing the accessibility of the university campuses, including movements between them, and managing traffic impacts will be a central component of this. Policy H7 seeks to ensure that an appropriate scale and quality of student accommodation is available within and close to the campuses.

Policy ED3 - University of Salford 

The continued enhancement of the facilities and campuses of the University of Salford will be supported. 

Development proposals for the university shall: 

  1. Form part of a comprehensive development strategy that will ensure that the continued evolution of the university estate is properly coordinated and managed;
  2. Support an increase in the proportion of staff, students and visitors who access the university, and move between its campuses, by public transport, cycling and walking;
  3. Take advantage of opportunities for greening the campus environment; and
  4. Seek to promote links between business sectors and the university’s skills and research strengths in support of the university’s Industrial Collaboration Zone aspirations, with the further enhancement of the Salford Innovation Park providing a particular opportunity in this regard. 

Development proposals for the Peel Park and Frederick Road campus shall: 

  1. Significantly enhance the overall attractiveness of the campus to students, residents and visitors in terms of the quality of new built development, public realm and the overall vibrancy of the area;
  2. Improve the physical and functional integration of the campus with its surroundings, through working with partners to improve connectivity with the wider City Centre and enhancing key shared access points into the campus and other facilities such as Peel Park;
  3. Enhance pedestrian and cycling routes through the campus and onwards to surrounding areas. The line of the Manchester Bolton and Bury canal provides an opportunity to open up new green infrastructure through the campus;
  4. Minimise the negative impacts of traffic and parking within the campus and on the surrounding area, and significantly reduce the amount of land used for car parking; and
  5. Contribute towards the development of a Cultural Gateway, focused around Salford Museum and Art Gallery and Fire Station Square, with the latter being animated by new cultural and food and drink uses.

Figure 12 - University of Salford


13.2 The main indicators that will be used to monitor this chapter is:


Baseline position


Surplus number of school places in each primary school pupil planning area

The surplus by Pupil Planning Area (PPA) having regard to the pupil admission number and forecast number of children  for 2019/20 is as follows [1]:

  • PPA1: Little Hulton and Walkden = 14%
  • PPA2: Boothstown and Worsley = 5%
  • PPA3: Irlam and Cadishead = 7%
  • PPA4: North Swinton = 12%
  • PPA5: South Swinton = 5%
  • PPA6: North Eccles = 21%
  • PPA7: South Eccles = 5%
  • PPA8: Claremont = 4%
  • PPA9: Weaste and Langworthy = 17%
  • PPA10: Broughton and Kersal = 8%
  • PPA11: Ordsall = 14%
  • PPA12: Border = 26%

5% each year (2019-2037)

Surplus number of school places in each secondary school pupil planning area

The surplus by Pupil Planning Area (PPA) having regard to the pupil admission number and forecast number of children  for 2019/20 is as follows [2]:

  • PPA101: Little Hulton, Swinton and Walkden = 1%
  • PPA102: Eccles, Irlam and Cadishead = 0%
  • PPA103: Central and Border = 8%

5% each year (2019-2037)


[1] Salford City Council (September 2019) Data provided by Children’ Services pupil place planning team

[2] Ibid.

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