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Primary class size m2

(13 Posts)
marl Tue 02-Apr-13 09:41:17

HI, does anyone know whether there is any point arguing against M2 quoted by an LA in a school appeal? The LA are suggesting that infant class sizes should be 63m2. The school we are appealing for has 58m2. The old DFE documents on this called 'assessing the net capacity of schools' suggests 49M2 is what is necessary plus additional 14m2 which can be cupboard/storage space. The LA are telling me 63M2is necessary which is why they keep the PAN to 28 and not 30 and they use guidance on school buildings issued by DfE - which of course is difficult to apply to older school buildings. Any help gratefully received as this seems to be the only strong argument they are putting in their statement so I'm keen to be able to dismiss it if at all possible, particularly since it contradicts what I have read.

mrz Tue 02-Apr-13 10:10:00

Is it for a reception place because there is a difference according to age of child and use of the room.

prh47bridge Tue 02-Apr-13 10:43:58

Whilst the additional 14m2 can include stores it should predominantly be for teaching, either within the classroom or in shared areas. So the fact that the classroom is on 58m2 is not enough on its own to justify a PAN of 28. It depends on the size of the shared areas.

Ask them for the calculated and actual net capacity of the school. The calculated capacity should be two figures - the lower figure will be 90% of the higher figure. The actual net capacity will be somewhere between those two figures. If it is near the bottom of the range that helps you as it shows the school can cope with more children.

Before the current guidelines came into use the minimum for a class of 30 was 48m2. The panel may take the view that it is still enough for 30 children.

mrz Tue 02-Apr-13 11:03:01

EYFS states that there should be 2.3m2 per child in reception

prh47bridge Tue 02-Apr-13 13:04:21

Indeed but that particular EYFS requirement only applies to registered providers. Schools are exempt from registration so the 2.3m2 per child does not apply to them. Many would be in breach if it did including this school - according to the figures given by the OP they are operating with 2.07m2 per child in Reception. The LA's case is clearly referring to the net capacity calculation which does not differentiate between Reception and other years.

marl Tue 02-Apr-13 19:45:38

Thank you. I will start the maths as per the above! I spoke to DfE today who said that they are working on more like 2.1 anyway now for Reception as the coalition have moved them to that..though I guess that doesn't necessarily mean the LA are. THey also suggested I should use BB 99 briefing framework which suggests a 'standard classroom' should be 56-63m2 for 30 pupils so I'm guessing I could also use that since they are not at the bottom of that. Also the LA are using mobile classrooms of 50-56m2 in some schools for classes of 30 and the other schools they are suggesting we should go to have PANs of 30 but classrooms of the same size or only slightly bigger, so I'm guessing I could bring that up? Thanks both of you. Any further suggestions most appreciated!

marl Tue 02-Apr-13 20:33:47

Hi prh47bridge, I have had a look for the figures you suggested. I have the Net capacity assessment for the school. There are lots of 'storecupboards etc' that would presumably give the higher figure with 'non net area.' All those columns are blank under the column that says 'non net area if known', so the only figure on that document is the Net Capacity. Is there something missing do you think or am I just not understanding? Sorry to pester! I only get one stab at it so I have to get it right otherwise chaos will begin with the logistics of family life I think!

prh47bridge Tue 02-Apr-13 22:41:27

If what you are looking at is the output from the DfE's spreadsheet, just above the net capacity are two numbers labelled "maximum workplaces available" and "minimum workplaces available". Those are the calculated range for net capacity.

By the way, it is not true that the coalition have moved the figure to 2.1m2 per child. If you work it out you will find that comes to 63m2 for 30 children which has been the figure used for net capacity assessment of primary schools since 2002. So nothing to do with the current government.

It is certainly worth bringing up if other schools in the area have 30 children in classrooms the same size as this one.

marl Wed 03-Apr-13 11:27:12

Thank you - I have found it. It would all have worked, but since the LA let a whole extra class in for Year 1 as a result of high local numbers, the school are over this maximum because they themselves decided this would not affect health and safety I guess...So maybe I would be better not bringing this up, or using precedent in the previous year group as an argument. At least I've got to the bottom of the figures anyway - thanks very much for your help.

prh47bridge Wed 03-Apr-13 13:18:04

A precedent in the previous year at this school is a much better argument than anything that is going on elsewhere. As long as this class remains below 30 you have a decent chance of winning provided you can make a good case as to why this is the right school for your child.

marl Wed 03-Apr-13 20:44:32

Thankyou. Really appreciate your advice and the time you have spent answering.

admission Wed 03-Apr-13 21:27:17

There is now complete and utter confusion over what should or must be the minimum size of classrooms. The latest school building regs 2012 only talk about reasonable and some specifics in terms of toilets etc. The consultation that took place talked about dropping all the building guidelines but I am unclear what exactly is now the legal status of them.
The easiest and possibly most sensible figure is to look at what the DfE are now proposing in their new standard design primary school and all the rooms, no matter whether it is reception or year 6 are 62 sq metres with no practical space. That is what all new classrooms will be built to.
However there has to be realism here and the vast majority of primary schools will have been built when the regs stated 48 or 52 sq metres and the LA cannot retrospectively start cutting class numbers simply because the regs may have changed.
The first question I would be asking is what DfE guidance the LA is actually using and see if they are using the 1999 or 2010 regs or are they actually interpreting the 2012 regs somehow .
As a panel member if I am told that the PAN is 28, then my immediate reaction is to consider the size of the classroom and ask the question why the school cannot take 30 in the class which is the maximum allowed by the Infant Class Size Regs. The difference between 58 and 62 sq metres is not that large. I would therefore be asking questions like, what are the sizes of the other classrooms in the school and how many pupils do they have in each. My suspicion would be that you will find some mismatches with classes of more than 28. Establishing the numbers in each classroom will potentially mean that you can argue that to increase the class to 30 is acceptable as that is exactly what they have in other classrooms.
I think I would also ask what the class set up is, do they sit on tables of 4 or 6 or 8. Obviously if it was 4 then you may well have 7, but if it was 6 then they would have 5 tables, with two spare places if only 28 in the room. OK I know that in reception it is about learning by play, so formal tables is not necessarily appropriate but it is when they get to year 2 or year 3.
I would also ask exactly how long ago was the admission number of 28 set. I suggest this because many years ago it was the norm to set a PAN of 28 on the basis that gave room for 2 more to be admitted if they came into the area. That has not been allowed for many years but a surprising number of PANs still sit where they were set many years ago.

marl Mon 08-Apr-13 20:08:43

Just to say prh47bridge, mr2 and admission, thank you for all your invaluable help on this. We won the appeal today and I am so relieved. Your advice was so valuable, and the amount of prep for this turned out to be ridiculously time consuming but worth it. I can only reflect on how difficult this would be for many families that would be less able to circumnavigate the systems and my shock at how ill-informed today's panel appeared to be in relation to the advice I have had from you all. The few questions they asked the LA were far from probing and they expressed complete surprise at the content of the net capacity assessment that I brought to the hearing. Thanks again anyway.

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