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									                       Southend-on-Sea Borough Council                                 Agenda
                                                                                       Item No.
                          Report of Corporate Director Children & Learning
                                                 to
                  The Cabinet and all Members of the Council
                                                on
                                           22nd May 2007

                         Report prepared by: Alastair Robertson & David Jarvis

              Primary school catchment areas and admission limits
  Children & Lifelong Learning Scrutiny – Executive Councillor: Councillor Carr
                          A Part 1 Public Agenda Item


1.       Purpose of Report

1.1     To seek the approval of Cabinet for a public consultation with parents of pupils
        living in the Borough on changes to some primary school catchment areas and
        admission limits.

2.      Recommendation

2.1     That parents of pupils in key stage 1 in primary school and those in pre-
        school provision, be consulted on possible changes to primary school
        catchment areas and admission limits from September 2009 as set out in
        paragraphs 8.2 and 8.3 and as shown on Appendix 2.

3.      Background

3.1     The existing primary school catchment areas and admission limits have largely
        remained unchanged for many years and there has been no overall review
        since Southend became a Unitary Authority responsible for education in April
        1998.

3.2 Living in the catchment area for a school means that a pupil will normally get
    priority in admission to the school. In practice in Southend only about 50% of
    primary schools are oversubscribed, parents can apply for places at any school,
    and most primary schools admit children from outside their own catchment area.

3.3 The admission limit refers to the maximum number a school can admit in a
    particular year group. This is normally determined by the capacity of the school,
    but also by the class size limit of 30 for children ages 5 to 7 i.e. key stage 1.
    If pupils numbers in the area are lower, or the school is less popular than
    surrounding schools, then a school may admit fewer children than it’s admission
    limit.

3.4 The pattern of parental preferences for schools in Southend has changed over
    the last 9 years, as has the size of some schools and the number of pupils of
    school age living in different parts of the town. Although living in a catchment

Primary Catchment & Admission limits            Page 1 of 8        Report No DCL 071
        area does not guarantee a school place, there is the expectation that children
        should be able to obtain a place in their local school, if that is what the parents
        prefer.

3.5 In proposing revised catchment areas and admission limits the future pupil
    product (numbers of pupils being admitted) from different geographical areas of
    the town has been used. The Council receives birth data from the Health
    Authority which is used as the basis of forecasting likely future intakes in
    particular areas. This provides a good estimate of future numbers accepting
    that pupil numbers will change year by year, and will be affected by such factors
    as the admission of siblings from outside the catchment areas and the number
    of pupils seeking places at church schools. Account is then taken of the impact
    of current and proposed building developments.

3.6 As detailed in the School Organisation Data Supplement 2006 births in the
    Borough have fallen from an average of 2,100 per year in the early 1990s to an
    average of 1,900 per year from the turn of the century. This has already
    impacted on some primary schools who have experienced falling rolls since
    2000. The overall birth rate within the town has increased slightly since
    2005/06 and this slight upturn is expected to continue. Over the next 5 years
    primary school numbers are expected to remain stable in the central and
    western part of the town, but will continue to fall in the Eastwood and
    Shoeburyness areas.

3.7 As pupil numbers have fallen in recent years, the number of surplus places in
    primary schools has increased. The Local Authority is required by the DfES to
    be reviewing surplus places and to respond to demographic changes over time.
    The removal of surplus places does enable schools to make more effective use
    of existing accommodation to meet changing curriculum, or to consider
    alternative uses e.g. to meet the extended school agenda.

3.8 Any changes for a foundation school would need the agreement of the
    governing body, who is the admission authority. Changes to some catchment
    areas could not therefore be agreed unless agreed by both the Council (who is
    the admission authority for community schools) and the governing body for a
    foundation school. There are no changes being proposed to admission limits for
    any foundation schools.

4.       Consultation with the Admissions Forum and Schools

4.1 Proposed catchment area and admission limit changes were considered by the
    Admissions Forum at their meeting on 8th February 2007. All primary schools
    were then consulted on initial proposals and the outcomes reported to a
    meeting of the Admissions Forum on 25th April 2007.

4.2 There were changes following the consultation with schools and the changes
    being recommended are those proposed by the Admissions Forum on 25th April
    2007. The changes made by the Admissions Forum should ensure that all
    governing bodies of the schools concerned are supportive of the changes.




Primary Catchment & Admission limits        Page 2 of 8        Report No DCL 071
5.     Catchment Area changes

5.1 In proposing the revised catchment area boundaries the following were
    considered:

        a) where possible that boundaries should be set along main roads which often
           form natural divisions between different areas;
        b) every catchment area should include a good social mix of pupils;
        c) there should be good transport links to the school for pupils living in the
           catchment area;
        d) no pupil would be expected to travel over 1.5 miles (Infants) and 2 miles
           (Juniors) to their catchment area school;
        e) that wherever possible primary catchment area boundaries should align with
           those for the non-selective secondary schools.

5.2 Being much smaller geographical areas than the catchment areas for secondary
    schools it is difficult to achieve all the above factors.

5.3 With falling pupil numbers in recent years most primary schools are able to
    admit pupils from outside their immediate catchment, and pupils with older
    siblings will continue to receive priority over other non catchment pupils in most
    schools. However, it is recognised that changes to catchment areas, particularly
    for popular schools, will be unpopular with those parents directly affected, and
    could impact on things such as property prices.

5.4 Appendix 1 sets out the current catchment areas for primary. The catchment
    areas only relate to community and foundation schools and up to 210 pupils per
    year are admitted to voluntary aided (church) schools across the Borough.

5.5 The reduction in the admission limit for Westborough Primary School from 90 to
    60 per year, already agreed by this foundation school from September 2007,
    does require a review of catchment areas in the central part of the town. It is not
    a problem for 2007-08, but with continued high births in this area it could mean
    in the future that not all pupils living in the catchment area of that school, who
    desire a place, can be offered a place.

5.6 The changes at Chalkwell Hall Infant & Junior are linked to the proposed
    admission limit changes as detailed in section 6 below.

5.7 The proposed changes to catchments areas are shown on the map (Appendix
    2) with details given below. The admission limit for each school is also shown.
    The map also shows the average over the last six years of primary school pupils
    per year group from each area of the town.

        a) Heycroft (60 per year)/ Eastwood (60 per year) – the current catchment
           areas reflect the growth in housing development from the past and do not
           make sense with area 8 being part of Heycroft and area 7 being part of
           Eastwood. With declining birth rates in the area both schools have been
           under subscribed from their catchment area. Swopping these area is
           unlikely to affect parents obtaining the school of their choice;



Primary Catchment & Admission limits     Page 3 of 8        Report No DCL 071
        b) Leigh (90 per year)/ West Leigh (120 per year) –It is proposed that area 11
           becomes part of the West Leigh area. As both schools have recently been
           able to admit all pupils from their catchment area and a considerable
           number from elsewhere, it is not anticipated that this minor adjustment will
           affect parents choices of places at either Leigh or West Leigh.

        c) Westborough (60 per year) / Milton Hall & Barons Court (combined 100
           per year) The admission limit for Westborough is being reduced from 90 to
           60 and there is a resulting need to amend the catchment area. Milton Hall
           has been undersubscribed for some years and Barons Court (the school
           that shares a catchment area with Milton Hall) was also undersubscribed for
           the September 2006 round of admissions. As there is already a
           considerable amount of “cross border” movement between the catchment
           areas it is proposed that area 5a be moved from Westborough into the joint
           Milton Hall / Barons Court catchment area. It is not anticipated that the
           changes will have a significant effect on parents obtaining a place at the
           school of their choice.

        d) Westborough (60 per year) / Bournemouth Park (90 per year). The
           admission limit for Westborough is being reduced from 90 to 60 and there is
           a resulting need to amend the catchment area. Bournemouth Park has been
           undersubscribed for some years. Area 4 has been identified to transfer to
           Bournemouth Park as it will allow Victoria Avenue to become a natural
           boundary between the two areas and any pupil product from the
           development in Carnarvon Road will be included in the new area.

        e) Chalkwell (proposed 90 per year) / Darlinghurst (60 per year) –To enable
           the proposed reduction to the admission limit at Chalkwell to take place it is
           necessary to reduce the size of the existing catchment area and to increase
           the areas currently serving Darlinghurst Primary school which has been
           undersubscribed in recent years. It is proposed that the existing part of the
           Chalkwell catchment area to the north of Westborough Road (area 3)
           should now transfer to Darlinghurst Primary.

        f)     Porters Grange (proposed 60 per year) /Thorpe Greenways Infant &
               Junior (120 per year) - the opportunity has also been taken to slightly re-
               align the catchment area between Porters Grange and Thorpe Greenways.
               The previous catchment area layout did not clearly identify which parts of
               the new development on the Gasworks site should be included in either
               Porters Grange or Thorpe Greenways catchment areas. It has now
               recommended that the Esplanade 74 development should be included in
               Porters Grange with the remainder of the development being allocated to
               Thorpe Greenways.

6.     Admission Limits

6.1 The changes to admission limits being proposed for consultation are set out
    below. The changes will assist schools in providing year groups in multiples of
    30 and help avoid mixed age classes.

        a) Blenheim Primary School – reduce from 80 to 60 per year. Intakes to the
           school have for some years been considerably below the proposed

Primary Catchment & Admission limits         Page 4 of 8        Report No DCL 071
              admission limit. There are no proposals for significant new housing
              development. The reduction in the admission limit will allow the school to
              avoid mixed aged group teaching while still being able to admit all pupils
              from within the catchment area that require a place. The change is
              supported by the school.

        b) Chalkwell Hall Infant & Junior Schools – reduce from 105 to 90 per
           year. It is desirable to reduce the current admission intake to take into
           account the sub-standard site and the need to avoid mixed age group
           teaching. The school has three relocatable classrooms and a dining room
           with a limited life expectation. A reduction in numbers at the school would
           enable in the longer term a building project, which would be extremely
           difficult and disruptive with the current pupil numbers. Although overall
           numbers remain high at these popular schools and there is an upturn in the
           births in the Leigh area, the schools have had some spaces in the last
           couple of years. The proposed reduction in the admission limit would be
           combined with amendments to the catchment area as detailed in section 5
           above. The reduction in the admission limit for the Junior School would not
           take effect until September 2012. The change is supported by both schools.

        c) Temple Sutton Primary School reduce from 100 to 90 per year. Intakes
           to the school have in recent years been below the proposed admission limit.
           There is no indication that births in the area are increasing considerably and
           there are no proposals for significant new housing development. The
           reduction in the admission limit will allow the school to avoid mixed aged
           group teaching while still being able to admit all pupils from within the
           catchment area that require a place. The change is supported by the school.

        d) Porters Grange Primary – reduce from 80 to 60 per year. A reduction in
           the current admission limit would take into account the sub-standard site and
           the need to avoid mixed age group teaching. Against this births in this area
           are high and are seeing a modest increase. There is also new housing in
           this part of the town. However, giving the current pattern of parental
           preferences with admissions in recent year being about 60, and with spaces
           available in nearby schools, a reduction would be of benefit to the school.
           The change is supported by the school.

        e) Hinguar Primary School increase from 50 to 60 per year– If a decision is
           taken to build a new primary school building on the Garrison it would make
           sense for that to be constructed as a two form entry primary school i.e. an
           admission limit of 60. Although a new school building is unlikely to be
           completed before 2012, it would make sense to consider an increase in the
           admission limit from 50 to 60 per year at Hinguar Primary School from
           September 2009. This would provide additional places for growth in
           numbers from the garrison development. The current school would not have
           sufficient accommodation to sustain 60 every year, but if there was demand
           could do so from 2009 for 3 to 4 years. The increase is supported by the
           school who want the admission limit to be in multiples of 30.

6.2 It should be noted that a reduction in the admission limit from 90 to 60 per year
    at Westborough Primary School has already occurred and will take effect from
    September 2007.

Primary Catchment & Admission limits        Page 5 of 8       Report No DCL 071
7.       Timescales and Next Steps

7.1      If the recommendation is agreed the next steps are shown below.

              June to early July 2007
                1. Preparation and printing of consultation document.
                2. Preparation of website for on-line responses.

              Mid July to end of September 2007
                1. Public consultation with both parents of pupils in Key Stage 1 of
                    primary school and those in pre-school provision.
                 2. Formal consultation with heads and chairs of governors of community
                    schools affected by proposals;
                 3.    Formal consultation with heads and chairs of governors of foundation
                       schools affected by proposals.

              October 2007- Admissions Forum to consider outcome of consultation ands
               to make recommendation to Cabinet and governing bodies of foundation
               schools.
              November 2007- Cabinet to consider proposals affecting community
               schools and governing bodies to consider proposals affecting foundation
               schools.
              January 2008 - Publication of revised catchment areas and admission
               limits.
              Spring term 2008 - Preparation of Primary Admissions Booklet 2009/2010
               to include revised catchment areas and admission limits.
              September 2009 - Introduction of new catchment areas and admission
               limits.

7.2       If consensus cannot be reached between the Council and individual foundation
          governing bodies on the changes to the catchment areas then a referral may
          need to be made to the Schools Adjudicator for a final determination. All the
          changes related to admission limits in section 6 above refer to community
          schools and can be determined by the Council.

8.        Proposals

8.1.      A summary of the proposals above are set out below. It is recommended that
          a public consultation with the parents of pupils in key stage 1 in primary school
          and those in pre-school provision, be undertaken on those changes from
          September 2009.

8.2       Catchment areas – amendments to areas (see Appendix 2)

          8.2.1 Heycroft Primary and Eastwood Primary – swopping areas 7 and 8

          8.2.2 Leigh Infant & Junior and West Leigh Infant and Junior – area 11 to
                West Leigh



Primary Catchment & Admission limits           Page 6 of 8        Report No DCL 071
          8.2.3 Westborough Primary and Barons Court Infant and Milton Hall Primary
                – area 5a to Barons Court / Milton Hall

          8.2.4 Westborough Primary and Bournemouth Park Primary – area 4 to
                Bournemouth Park

          8.2.5 Chalkwell Hall Infant & Junior and Darlinghurst Primary – area 3 to
                Darlinghurst.

          8.2.6 Porters Grange Primary and Thorpe Greenways Infant & Junior –
                redefining of southern boundary.

8.3       Admission limits

          8.3.1 Blenheim Primary – reduce admission limit from 80 to 60 per year

          8.3.2 Chalkwell Hall Infant Schools – reduce admission limit from 105 to 90
                per year (with reduction for Chalkwell Hall Junior School from 105 to 90
                from September 2012).

          8.3.3 Porters Grange Primary – reduce admission limit from 80 to 60 per
                year.

          8.3.4 Temple Sutton Primary School – reduce admission limit from 100 to 90
                per year.

          8.3.5 Hinguar Primary School – increase admission limit from 50 to 60 per
                year.

9.        Corporate Implications

9.1       Contribution to Council’s Vision & Critical Priorities - Improving public
          satisfaction is a critical priority for the Council. It is anticipated that the proposed
          amendments to some primary school catchment areas and admission limits will
          improve over time the match between parental demand and the availability of a
          local school place.

9.2       Financial Implications - The reduction in admission numbers at Chalkwell Hall
          Infant and Junior Schools will reduce the budget for those schools over time,
          and the Governing Bodies will need to plan for this. As all other schools are
          currently operating at numbers at or below their proposed revised admission
          limits, there are no budget implications beyond those that cannot be
          accommodated within existing budgets.

9.3       Legal Implications - The proposed increase in admission limit at Hinguar
          Primary School is linked to the Section 106 agreement as considered in a
          separate report on this agenda.

9.4        People Implications - The Governing Bodies of Chalkwell Hall Infant & Junior
          Schools will have to plan over time a reduction in staff as their budget falls. This
          can be planned and should be achievable through natural turnover of staff

9.5       Property Implications - See sections 6.1 b) , 6.1 d), and 6.1 e).

Primary Catchment & Admission limits          Page 7 of 8          Report No DCL 071
9.6       Consultation - As detailed earlier in the report, the draft proposals have been
          subject to consultation with schools and, if agreed by Cabinet, the views of
          parents will be sought.

9.7       Equalities Impact Assessment - A review of catchment areas and admission
          limits will make the admission process easier and fairer. This will ensure fairer
          access to educational opportunities.

9.8       Risk Assessment - Changes to catchment areas and any reduction in
          admission limits can sometimes be unpopular with any parents who feel their
          chances of obtaining a particular school place have reduced. This is particularly
          relevant for the changes proposed for Chalkwell Infant & Junior Schools. This is
          partially mitigated by making changes during a period of lower numbers where,
          in the main, the changes will result in few parents having the likelihood of
          securing a school place of their choice altered.

9.9       Value for Money - The Local Authority is required by the DfES to be reviewing
          surplus places and to respond to demographic changes over time. The removal
          of surplus places does enable schools to make more effective use of existing
          accommodation to meet changing curriculum, or to consider alternative uses
          e.g. to meet the extended school agenda.

10.        Background Papers

10.1 School Organisation Data Supplement 2006.

10.1 Report to Admissions Forum 8th February 2007.

10.2 Report to Admissions Forum 25th February 2007.

11.       Appendices

11.1 Appendix 1 - Current Primary School catchment areas.

11.2 Appendix 2 - Proposed Primary School catchment areas.




Primary Catchment & Admission limits       Page 8 of 8         Report No DCL 071

								
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