Bulge class - any help to understand this?

(15 Posts)
Paintyfingers Wed 02-Apr-14 00:33:23

The local school that we are most keen on for our dc is lovely and looking back at the past stats for furthest distance away admitted we stand a pretty good chance and would have got in every of the last four years except one.

In that one year the school had a bulge class. It is normally two form entry but went three form that year at the request of the lea.

What I don't understand is why in just that one year a few years ago they went three form but this hasn't been maintained and why that was the year we wouldn't have got in?

It seems weird that in all the other years they only had 60 pupil places and we would have got in but in the bulge year they had 90 places and we wouldn't have got our dc in. Can anyone explain this at all?

Ladymuck Wed 02-Apr-14 00:39:45

In terms of maintaining a bulge class, this would have the impact of permanently adding an extra form per year, thus requiring 7 additional classrooms as well as playground space, school hall use etc. Putting in one bulge class is more straightforward as they can be accommodated in a portacabin or another room which has been temporarily converted (eg a library or music room say).

In terms of why you wouldn't have got in, hard to tell, but I agree that it is counter-intuitive. No harm in asking your council or the school as to why - occasionally there can be a very large number of siblings.

Paintyfingers Wed 02-Apr-14 00:54:55

Thank you for replying - has really helped. Maybe it was indeed large numbers of siblings.

Will all 90 dc's siblings also be given priority in future years? I presume so. Maybe this alone would mean we wouldn't get in as we would be applying two years after the bulge so prime sibling territory!

catkind Wed 02-Apr-14 00:55:09

Could it be that other schools in the area had bulge classes in the other years and were preferred by parents? And probably a silly question but are you sure you're matching the years up right? e.g. the stats for the previous year might be published in the current year's admissions docs.

Ladymuck Wed 02-Apr-14 01:29:57

It is worth reading the admissions policy for the school as I'm sure they'll address it, but unfortunately you are probably right - 2 years after a bulge is often a problematic year with a high number of siblings. I have found that school secretaries can be a useful source of knowledge - they'll often have an informal headcount of how many siblings they have.

singersgirl Wed 02-Apr-14 08:18:35

It could be that the bulge was added after the initial admissions round and the data shows the initial pre bulge admissions (clutching at straws but would explain the need for the bulge).

trinity0097 Wed 02-Apr-14 08:30:14

Perhaps the birth rate for that year group in that area was just high! Our current year 5 is a bulge class, and many other local schools are also bulging in that year group - there are just more kids of that age in our area than other ages!

meditrina Wed 02-Apr-14 08:54:58

The 'distance offered' is for first round offers. The bulge class would have been added after that, and it suggests there were an awful lot of children seeking places that year (hence small original footprint).

And yes it does mean that the 2-3 years after the bulge class (given typical family spacing) will have high numbers of siblings applying.

Paintyfingers Wed 02-Apr-14 10:53:34

So maybe we would have got in after the bulge was added?!

Interestingly the school website says 'we are able to admit local children despite the increased birth rate' - surprised they would say this!! I haven't seen this before. Does this mean they might do another bulge if needed for siblings of the last bulge year?

tiggytape Wed 02-Apr-14 11:27:58

Bulge classes are hard to predict and certainly cannot be relied upon. They are generally added after the initial offers are made in April.
They are only added if more school places are needed. They are not added just so that more parents can be given their top choice school.

Bulge classes are often the only solution for councils when faced with dozens or hundreds more children than there are places but they are not problem free. Some schools can accomodate extra pupils but others lose playground space, school fields, music and I.T rooms to fit in extra pupils and have to have staggered assemblies, staggered lunches etc to cope with the numbers so it really is used as a last resort rather than used to increase parental choice. If there is a school slightly further away with spaces, pupils will be sent there instead.

The bulge class you refer to was possibly to accommodate a very large year group when the council was struggling to find a place for everyone. There may well be another bulge class this year too but you won't know about that for a little while.

tiggytape Wed 02-Apr-14 11:30:17

we are able to admit local children despite the increased birth rate

It doesn't say all local children though and also, it doesn't define local so I would say that statement is probably true of virtually every primary school. If they are already highlighting the increased birth rate though, it may mean they are anticipating being asked to take an extra class at some stage.

pancakesfortea Wed 02-Apr-14 11:31:37

We have a bulge class and as others have said, two or three years later admissions have been very tight. But in the bulge itself, people got in from much further away. As others have said, maybe check the distances on initial offers day and in September?

Paintyfingers Wed 02-Apr-14 17:40:42

I posted and mn ate my post!

Just saying that the school office told me the bulge class was very difficult for the school. That made me think they are not very keen on having another, though the comment on the birth rate did surprise me as well.

We are trying to decide whether to move closer to the school. It does seem a bit mad to when we would have got in in all the last 4 years bar one and even in that one who knows whether we would have got in once the bulge had been added confused

Marmitelover55 Wed 02-Apr-14 18:27:30

My DD2 is in a bulge class and I think there are some disadvantages. My DD1 who is 2 years older did lots more trips than DD1 has done. I wonder if this is because it is more difficult up organise for 3 classes rather than 2? There are in fact 2 bulge classes and they are currently years 5&6. No doubt that when these children go onto secondary school they will add another 2 bulge classes, ax this ix what happened last time.

doodledotmum Fri 04-Apr-14 10:27:03

In my area bulge classes were quickly put into some schools a couple of years ago as a temp measure - they ran out of places. These schools were not ones however that could take an extra class long term. It creates big issues later on when you have 3 classes worth of sibling for a 2 class school etc - 2 years later very few people got in on distance.

Different schools near by, who had big playgrounds / field etc were actually then properly expanded permanently and subsequent years the PAN for all the schools changed again - some went up, some went down.
Our school distance went down to its lowest ever 2 years after a bulge class, but the last 2 years went back up again, year on year - as more people apply to the expanded primaries etc

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