Consultation on PAN reduction proposal at Beckfoot Nessfield Primary School

To be completed by: Mon 10 Jan 2022


Time: -Mon 10 Jan 2022 | Venue:


The purpose of this communication is to provide an opportunity for stakeholder views on the change of the PAN from 60 to 45 per year group. We are making a request to the Department for Education to change the PAN from September 2023.

Background

The current Published Admission Number (PAN) at Beckfoot Nessfield is 60. This means that the number of children admitted to the school in Reception each year is a maximum of 60.

Beckfoot Nessfield and Beckfoot Trust are proposing to reduce the PAN to 45.

This proposal would mean that the maximum number of pupils intended to be admitted in Reception in 2023, and all subsequent Reception cohorts, will be 45. For children who already have a place at the school in other year groups there will be no change.

Currently, the net capacity of the school is 420, made up of 60 places in each year from Reception to Year 6. However, currently there are 308 children due to a decrease in pupil numbers over the past 4 years.

When planning primary school places, The Bradford District is split into 26 primary school planning areas. Beckfoot Nessfield sits in the Keighley 2 planning area.

The fall in pupil numbers at Beckfoot Nessfield is reflected in pupil numbers across the Bradford District. There has been a decrease in the number of younger children registered with the NHS which has led to a high level of surplus places in some of the primary school planning areas, including Keighley 2.

According to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the number of live births nationally has fallen for five consecutive years, with the total number of live births in 2020 being the fewest since 2002. Given the falling number of births nationally and across the District, the Council does not anticipate that the numbers of children requiring school places in the Keighley 2 planning area will increase significantly in the near future.

Across the Keighley 2 planning area there are 445 Reception places. In September 2021 only 384 of these places were actually taken leaving a surplus of 61. Beckfoot Nessfield currently has 20 surplus places (there are currently 40 children on roll in Reception) or approx. one third of all surplus places in Keighley 2

Current published forecasts indicate that the numbers of Reception places required in Reception for the next four intake years across Keighley 2 will continue to fall. This means the current 2021 surplus reception places at Beckfoot Nessfield will not improve. Forecasts for Reception places needed over the next four years in Keighley 2 are:

2022/23:          324     
2023/24:          312      
2024/25:          308
2025/26:          308

 

In addition to Reception surplus places, the number of pupils on roll across the school from Y1 to Y6 have declined over the past 4 years. The school has already begun operating on a 45 PAN model up to Y4, with mixed age group classes, in order to secure the school budget. This model will roll into upper KS2 from September 2022. Current pupil numbers on roll:

Reception:        40
Year 1:              46
Year 2:              41
Year 3:              38
Year 4:              44
Year 5:              47
Year 6:              52

 

The school has used the Local Authority Reception places forecast information to model the school budget over the next five years in order to make an informed decision on its future. The school has considered the following three options:

a)   Do nothing and keep the PAN at 60 – The Reception classes are not forecast to fill to 60, meaning the school will not receive the maximum funding to enable two classes per year group. Although the forecast indicates that reception will not fill, there would be an expectation from the Local Authority that the school can still take up to 60 pupils throughout the whole intake year. This may result in a high number of in-year allocations that could potentially require changes to class organisation during the school year which is detrimental to the pupils and the school.

b)    Reduce the PAN to 45 – There will be sufficient places to meet the forecasted demand for places. The school will plan the curriculum for mixed age groups with the understanding that classes should remain stable and not need to be reorganised during the school year. Funding received for the number of pupils on roll should be sufficient for the level of staffing required for mixed age groups. The school is already modelled on a 45 PAN up to Year 4 due to current number of children on roll and from September 2022 will operate mixed age group classes from Reception to Year 6 in order to remain economically viable whilst offering a high-quality education for all children.

c)    Reduce the PAN to 30 – The Reception cohort is forecast to have more than 30 allocations in all forecast years (up to 2025) Allocations range from 38 down to 33. Reducing the PAN to 30 would mean that some local families would not receive their school of choice and would have to travel further to school. The school building is organised for a 60 PAN meaning half of the classrooms would need to be closed. The school is currently operating on a 45 PAN to Y4 and will roll this model into Y5/6 in 2022/3. Using the 45 PAN model across Y1 to Y6 2022/3 (not including potential Reception places) there would only be 14 surplus places.

The School Admissions Code requires that all admission authorities consult where they propose to reduce a PAN. Beckfoot Nessfield and Beckfoot Trust are therefore seeking representations on the proposed change to the PAN for Beckfoot Nessfield Primary School and Nursery in the Keighley 2 planning area.

 

Specific proposal: Amend the PAN from 60 to 45

Beckfoot Nessfield and Beckfoot Trust, propose to reduce the PAN from 60 to 45 from 1st September 2023.

This means that the maximum number of pupils intended to be admitted in Reception in 2023 and all subsequent Reception cohorts, will be 45. For children who already have a place in the school there will be no change.

In accordance with the School Admissions Code (2021), Beckfoot Nessfield and Beckfoot Trust are consulting with key stakeholders, including;

  • Beckfoot Nessfield Primary School and Nursery – Staff
  • Parents/carers of current pupils and prospective parents of pupils
  • 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

A copy of the proposal has been published on Beckfoot Nessfield’s website.

This consultation will run for six weeks from Monday 29th November 2021 to Monday 24th January 2022, after which time any representations received will be considered and a report taken to Beckfoot Trust for a decision to be made on the PAN for Beckfoot Nessfield. Any questions in relation to the consultation should be sent to the school via panconsultation@beckfootnessfield.org

There will be a consultation evening at school where you will have the opportunity to share your views and discuss the proposals on Tuesday 7th December 2021 starting at  5.00pm.

Factors that have been considered by Beckfoot Nessfield and the Beckfoot Trust when deciding to consult on these proposals include:

  • A large portion of funding received by schools is directly related to the number of pupils attending the school. Too many pupil vacancies mean that the school 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 whilst not having a detrimental effect on the education it offers its pupils.
  • The school is located in Keighley 2 planning area where there continues to be a falling demand for primary school places, resulting in a significant surplus across the area. There are also significantly lower numbers of younger children across Keighley 2 and the wider Bradford District, registered with the NHS who will require a school place over the coming years
  • The total number of pupils from Reception to Year 6 recorded by the school on the October 2021 census was 310, which is below the current capacity of 420 (60 PAN).
  • Beckfoot Nessfield and Beckfoot 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 Keighley 2 area e.g. a bulge year. Should the LA ask the school to admit children substantially in excess of 1.5FE, the LA will employ it’s bulge class funding approach.

Beckfoot Nessfield and Beckfoot Trust 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 and prospective pupils. The reduction in PAN will ensure that an appropriate number of places are provided for future pupils, in line with forecasts.


Consultation

Published: 02/12/2021
Audience: Headteachers of Bradford District Primary and Nursery Schools
Contact: Linda Hanson

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