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Primary places shortage - Q's for Ed Balls anyone?

(16 Posts)
stringerbell Fri 04-Sep-09 22:00:57

Message withdrawn

iamdisappointedinyou Sat 05-Sep-09 08:15:33

I know that the thrust of your complaint is about Primary places but can you lob in something about the opposite end of the spectrum please?

My DD finished school this summer and was hoping go to University. Her cohort is a statistical blip: they are the largest age-group of their generation (there was a gradual rise in birthrates leading up to them, then a tailing off afterwards). The Government has known this since they were born 18 years ago, obv. So why did the Government choose this year, of all years, reduce the number of University places available after the admission process had started. Times article here

The Govt has huge statistical rescources at its fingertips. It should be able to predict how many pupils there are in any year and plan the right number of places to match demand. Why don’t they do it? Will you have to repeat your fight for a place for your DC to study at every stage of their education?sad

GreenEggsAndSpam Sat 05-Sep-09 12:13:26

This hasn't affected me personally, but it has been a problem in Brighton and Hove. As I understand it, a whole area of Hove has no local school. The Council have obviously known about this, and rising roles, but no concrete plans for a school have been proposed. Existing schools have been expanded - Brighton and Hove now have several schools with a yearly intake of 120 pupils, which I think is huge, and puts pressure on existing infrastructure. The issue is also muddied by faith schools, which are dotted around but limit choice for non C of E/Catholic parents.

When the school allocations came out earlier in the year, there were reports of families with reception age children having to travel into central Brighton on one bus, catch anoter out to an outlying (unpopular, undersubscribed) school, with journeys up to an hour each way (or 4 hours each day for the parent).

I think that the number of places available for children exceeds the number of children who need a place. However, the schools with spaces are in the wrong area, or very unpopular, and with the influx of young families into B&H in recent years, there are lots of families without a local school.

My question would be - at what point is an infant/primary school too big/crowded?
Why isn't central govt giving funding to build schools in areas which need them, rather than propping up 'failing' schools which have space but no-one wants to use?

I will link this thread to B&H MN local, although it isn't very busy, someone there might be ale to help.

Good luck with it smile

Miggsie Sat 05-Sep-09 18:42:49

My question is...how do they run out of places when they have up to 5 years to plan.
What method do they use?
Can they not link the data of registered births with the child benefit register for their post codes?

Obviously there is a problem with either suddenly families all move in a year before (is this really likely?)...or they are not collectign sufficient data to plan.

This happened where I live a year ago with schools taking on extra classes and becoming crowded.

Ask him what the planning criteria are and where the data is derived and how this can be improved.

Hassled Sat 05-Sep-09 18:49:57

I know this isn't just a problem at school age. Despite promises of free nursery slots etc., the reality is that there just aren't enough sessions available. Given the increased birthrate over the last year, the Govt really need to be addressing this - supporting the preschools who would like to add more sessions (doing both am and pm, for example), but are run by a committee of parent volunteers who really are ill-equipped to run what would then become a sizeable enterprise.

Hassled Sat 05-Sep-09 18:54:05

Miggsie - the LAs' grasp on local demographics is piss poor. They set our school's PAN (Pupil Admission No) at X pupils per year (despite being heavily oversubscribed already) at the same time as a massive amount of quite dense social housing, aimed at families, was being built close to the school. Now those families have moved in and we are even more over-subscribed, but the PAN is cast in stone. We (Governors) have tried rational argument, but the LA won't budge.

amicissima Sat 05-Sep-09 20:26:06

Please ask him to look at overturning the Greenwich Judgement.
It must be hard enough for LEAs to work towards providing places for the babies born in the LA four years down the line, plus those moving in (although they must know roughly how many new homes are being built), but surely it's impossible to estimate how many applicants from outside the LA will live closer to schools near the boundary and thus have priority over the LA residents (for whom they have to find a place).

londonartemis Sat 05-Sep-09 22:27:32

I don't understand why they can't see this problem coming. After all, they hand out child benefit to every mother/father in the country. The information is all on computer and it can't be diffficult to find out how many children are being claimed for in every post code, and what age they are.
Very very good luck with your debate. Don't be fobbed off. Stick to your point.

iamdisappointedinyou Mon 07-Sep-09 08:14:20

I'm surprised that this didn't get more comments.

Good luck for today.smile

stringerbell Mon 07-Sep-09 14:16:17

Message withdrawn

Bigschoolmummy Mon 07-Sep-09 14:41:10

Good luck for today.

I think this will reach you too late for your news item today but perhaps asking him if he could stop the many millions of pounds being spent on "advice leaflets" i.e. what to feed your children/how to cross the road/what to make wear or unnecessary PR type quangos and simply just use the money to build more local schools.

Bigschoolmummy Mon 07-Sep-09 14:43:44

Will catch the 6 o'clock news.

stringerbell Mon 07-Sep-09 15:35:49

Message withdrawn

iamdisappointedinyou Mon 07-Sep-09 22:19:15

What a shame, stringer. Also ITV news seem to be websiteless ATM.sad

Have you seen this?

toadstool Tue 08-Sep-09 14:25:21

Hi, Sorry you lost your TV slot, but I hope your campaign goes v v well. It's a big problem where I live, and I recall it was a big problem when I lived in Bristol. The causes are the same: the LA assumes that a specific portion of local parents will opt for private schools, so it undershoots the necessary allocation of places in the local state primaries. In fact, the parents who go private have often done so because they couldn't get into a "good" primary. It's actually worse where we are now (not Bristol). I have the choice of 5 state primaries and 1 faith school near where I live. But 3 of them (including the faith school) have huge waiting lists. The other 2 have places - because they are regarded as nopelessly "bad": one has a head imposed by the LA, who is shared with another school (how?); the other has had an 'interim head' for several years (again, how?)and its staff have a poor reputation. So the question I have is, why isn't more being done by LAs to turn around "bad" primaries, and to rethink their catchment areas (one of these 2 schools is described in its Ofsted as 'serving a pocket of deprivation' - that should NOT be an acceptable catchment area, it should be altered to allow a credible social mix of pupils). Rant over. Good luck with it.

1dilemma Thu 10-Sep-09 13:33:31

Agree the stats should be doable but don't forget there are children who don't get child benefit but can have a school place and vice versa

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