Consultation to reduce the Pupil Admission Number at Wilsden Primary School

The Local Governing Board at Wilsden Primary School is consulting to reduce the PAN from 60 to 30. The consultation begins on Monday 2nd November for 6 weeks until Monday December 14th 2020. This is to be implemented from September 2022.

Statutory consultation on the proposed reduction in Published Admission Number for Wilsden Primary School for the 2022/23 academic year

Background

The current Published Admission Number (PAN) at Wilsden Primary School is 60. This means that the number of children admitted to the school in reception each year is a maximum of 60.

When planning primary school places in Bradford, the District is split into 26 primary school planning areas. Wilsden Primary School sits in the Bingley 2 planning area.

The population growth in Bradford over the last decade increased pressure on primary school places, resulting in a large-scale expansion programme to meet the growth in demand. Due to an increase in demand in the Bingley 2 planning area, Cullingworth Primary School increased their PAN from 30 to 45 in September 2014 and this seems to have had a direct correlation at Wilsden, the impact of which has seen the number of children on roll reducing from 60 by about 15 children.

Whilst there are still small areas of population growth, overall across the Bradford District, there is a decrease in the number of younger children registered with the NHS. This has led to a high level of surplus places in some of the primary school planning areas, including Bingley 2, where Wilsden Primary School is situated.

Nationally, the number of live births has been falling over the last few years, with the total number of live births in 2019 being the fewest since 2004. In the Bradford District, there were 7270 live births in the 2019, which is considerably lower than recent years with the exception of 2018 when there were 7244; therefore, the Council does not anticipate that the numbers of children requiring school places in the Bingley 2 planning area will increase significantly in the near future. The proposed PAN reduction will leave 135 places in the planning area and the forecast does show that more than 135 places are required.

The current total PAN across Bingley 2 is 165 places as follows:

 

School

PAN

Whole school capacity

Cullingworth

45

315

Denholme

30

210

Harden

30

210

Wilsden

60

420

Total

165

1155

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current forecasts indicate that the number of reception places required for reception for the next four intake years across Bingley 2 are:

2021/22: 140

2022/23: 132

2023/24: 144

2024/25: 144

Wilsden Primary could accommodate 60 of the above children but are forecast to be allocated the following number of children:

2021/22: 35

2022/23: 27

2023/24: 39

2024/25: 39

In addition, the figures below for Wilsden Primary School indicate the falling trend showing that numbers have not been stable and the school has been struggling to fund extra teachers to enable this model of having 2 classes to carry on. The school is now at a point where it cannot sustain the low numbers of children that are arriving. Bingley 2 is not currently supporting the numbers of children needed to sustain all the places it currently has. Wilsden Primary cannot financially sustain a half class of children and employ a teacher on the revenue this brings, so clearly the PAN needs to reduce to 30 or the number of children needs to increase by a half form of entry so that this is nearer to the 60 PAN. 

Wilsden – numbers in reception each September and figures from the autumn and spring census:

Year of intake

September figures in proposal

Number of children starting in reception classes

October census

January census

14/15

50

61

61

62

15/16

54

58

58

59

16/17

57

54

55

55

17/18

41

44

41

40

18/19

39

42

39

39

19/20

44

43

44

43

 

You can also see the trend since 2014 for the total number of places across the whole of the planning area:

2014/2015:

163

2015/2016:

166

2016/2017:

152

2017/2018:

148

2018/2019:

146

2019/2020:

149

 

The Local Authority’s forecast information has been used to model the school’s budget over the next five years. Three possible options have been modelled with the effects on the budget shown below over the next 5 years up to 2025:

Do nothing and keep the PAN at 60 will result in a deficit budget of £1,534,610 

Reduce the PAN to 45 will result in a deficit budget of £695,752

Reduce the PAN to 30 will result in a deficit budget of £326,661
 

The School Admissions Code requires that all admission authorities consult where they propose to reduce a PAN. Wilsden Primary School, part of Focus Academy Trust as the Admission Authority, is therefore seeking representations on the proposed change to the PAN for Wilsden Primary School in the Bingley 2 planning area.

In accordance with the School Admissions Code (2014), Wilsden Primary School and Focus Trust is consulting with key stakeholders, including;

  • Parents/carers of current pupils and prospective parents of pupils
  • Bradford Council (the local authority in which the school is situated)
  • All other Admission Authorities within the District
  • Neighbouring Local Authorities
  • Councillors and MPs
  • Trade Unions
  • Anyone else who has an interest in the proposed changes

 

An application will be made to the ESFA.

Wilsden Primary School will publish the proposal on their website.

This consultation will run for six weeks from 2nd  November 2020 to 11th  December 2020, after which time any representations received will be considered and a report taken to the Trust Board on December 15th for a decision to be made on the PAN for Wilsden Primary School.

Specific Proposal

Wilsden Primary School and Focus Trust propose to reduce the PAN at Wilsden Primary School from 60 to 30 from 1 September 2022.

This means that the maximum number of pupils intended to be admitted in Reception in 2022, and all subsequent Reception cohorts, will be 30. For children who already have a place at the school in other year groups there will be no change.

Factors that have been considered by Wilsden Primary School when deciding to consult on this proposal include:

  • A large portion of funding received by schools is directly related to the number of pupils attending the school. Too many vacancies mean that schools will not receive the maximum possible revenue. Therefore the school is proposing to reduce the number of available places to enable the school to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.
  • The school is located in Bingley 2 planning area where there continues to be a falling demand for primary school places, resulting in a significant surplus across the area.
  • The total number of pupils from reception to Year 6 recorded by the school on the January 2020 census was 336 and is well below the current capacity of 420.
  • Figures that have been shared by Bradford Council from the NHS show lower numbers of younger children registered with the NHS who will require a school place in the coming years
  • Wilsden Primary School and Focus Trust are more than willing to look creatively at solutions in conjunction with Bradford Local Authority in the future which may help to solve any problems resulting in a shortage of school places in the Bingley 2 planning area – eg a bulge year. Should the LA ask the academy to admit children substantially in excess of the 1FE, the LA will employ its bulge class funding approach. Wilsden Primary School Governors believe that reducing the PAN will assist the school to provide stability in their long-term planning and allow them to deliver high quality educational outcomes for the pupils currently on roll. The reduction in PAN will ensure that an appropriate number of places are provided for future pupils, in line with forecasts.

This consultation paper will be published on the school website: www.wilsdenprimary.co.uk Any representations should be made to Wilsden Primary School and Focus Trust via email Wilsden.support@focus-trust.co.uk



Consultation

Published: 02/11/2020
Audience: All Headteachers of Primary and Secondary Schools within the Bradford Local Authority.
Contact: Liz Davison

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