Extending a school when there are places close by?(7 Posts)
Dd's wonderfully inclusive school is now over subscribed having their numbers rise from 26O plus when they opened two years ago to 360 plus as of this week.
The LEA are proposing to extend it to allow a greater intake.I know it's selfish but I'm quite sad really because whilst not a small school it seems big enough to me.
Demand for places is huge reception intake should be 50 but they let in 61 after appeals this year.
It's not as though there aren't plenty of OFSTED good schools close by ( dd's is rated satisfactory) there are around 12 within a three mile radius of the school and few if any are full.
I suppose word has got out.
Is the council likely to extend and what might be the implications?
It's quite heartening to see a council which might be planning ahead for the number of places it thinks it will need in future years. Too often on here are tales if the effects of insufficient places: of long journeys, bulge classes, temporary classrooms or even no place at all.
Or the council may simply be trying to provide the schooling that parents want. That is also a facet of a functioning policy on parental choice - the popular schools expand and the less popular ones may be shrink or even be closed. And OFSTED rating is only part of it - in your area parents are voting with their feet. The LA is responding to parental demand.
So yes, they can do this. If you want to be free of LA control, you might want to look into campaigning for converting the school's status.
I think when the school was built (it amalgamated three schools in an area of high deprivation) it was built based on the numbers of the children in the schools and catchment area.
What has happened though is that it has found a niche in the market for SEN children and lots like my daughter are well out of catchment but have a statement and so priority entry.
It's obvious that it's going to be a fantastic school even OFSTED said they were excited to see what it would be at next inspection.
it works the other way too - we're an outstanding primary, but sadly we're about to loose a class because of falling numbers in a rural area. A couple of other schools nearby are in the same boat. We do live on the edge however of a large urban area (3 - 4 miles away) where schools are hugely over-subscribed and children are being transported all over the city to primary schools (sometimes 10 miles away) and there is still a distinct lack of spaces.
It was in the local news yesterday that an extensive building programme for lots of school costing vast sums of money is being proposed for the city. Parents are up in arms because it will mean removing the outside play areas for classroom space, bigger intakes etc. Surely it would make more sense to fill capacity in schools where there are places first before starting construction? Sadly not. Because our school is not under the same district council, transport cannot be funded. Politics getting in the way of common sense again
Its more the case that places don't exist where they are needed.
Its all very well to say that there are plenty of places 3 miles away and therefore expanding the local school is unnecessary or undesirable but 3 miles can be too far.
Anyone faced with a 6 mile round trip in rush hour city traffic is not going to think that the school 3 miles away with spaces is a good option especially if they have to get themselves to work after drop-off or if they have a younger child who has to be dragged out on a 45 minute car ride every morning and afternoon or if they have no car and have to use buses.
Too many parents are faced with school options that see them drive past 3 or 5 local schools that they cannot get a place at to go to a school they don't particularly like much further from their house. And in many areas birth rates are climbing and something of a crisis point is being reached (London will be tens of thousands of school places short within a few years if more don't expand for example).
We are two miles away but there are six or seven schools off the top of my head closer. We're not in a hugely busy area so our trip takes less than ten minutes even in rush hour so I wouldn't say that any journey even into the local town 7 miles away would take half an hour tbh.
I fully agree that parents shouldn't have to drive past local schools that are full but it does seem slightly odd to expand a school when there are no shortage of places in the local area.
In practical terms 60 per year group is the right size for the school. That is 2 classes of 30, the maximum allowed under the infant class size regs. It is also good financially for the school as it maximises income for the number of staff employed. It also means that your child will be in single age classes. Another positive is that the school is big enough, has enough funds to be able to do things that maybe a smaller school cannot do.
50 as an admission number is a nightmare for the school. There will be mixed age classes and quite probably will end up with class sizes of 34/ 35 in the junior end of the school.
I think that the LA and school are quite right to make these changes.
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