Statutory consultation on the proposed reduction in Published Admission Number for Low Ash Primary School for the 2021/22 academic year
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.
Following consultation which was held from 8 September 2017 to 20 October 2017, the Council’s Executive Committee agreed that the Published Admission Number (PAN) at Low Ash Primary School would increase from 60 to 90 from September 2019. A main factor presented in that proposal, was the significant number of approved and proposed housing developments within a reasonable distance of Low Ash Primary School. These developments were expected to significantly increase the number of children requiring a school place. The PAN of 90 at Low Ash was determined in March 2018 as part of the admission arrangements for 2019.
However, the proposed housing developments which were expected to increase the demand on school places have not yet begun construction and are not expected to be occupied for a number of years. Forecasts showed that there were sufficient school places in the neighbouring planning areas to meet demand for reception places in September 2019, and it was recognised that to increase the PAN at Low Ash could be detrimental to other local primary schools.
A referral was sent to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator in April 2019 to request a variation to the PAN from 90 to 60 for September 2019. However, this request was not approved as the Schools Adjudicator determined that the potential effect on other schools was “not sufficient reason to deny the parental preferences made” at that time.
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. Recent information published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that the number of births in 2018 was the lowest recorded both nationally and in Bradford, since 2005; therefore the Council does not anticipate that the numbers of children requiring school places across the District will increase significantly in the near future.
A further referral was sent to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator in June 2019 to request a variation to the PAN from 90 to 60 for September 2020. This request was approved and therefore 60 pupils will be allocated to start at Low Ash Primary School in September 2020.
When planning primary school places in Bradford, the District is split into 26 primary school planning areas. Low Ash Primary School sits in the Shipley 1 planning area, along with Christ Church CE Primary Academy, High Crags Primary Leadership Academy and St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School. The PAN for Shipley 1 for 2020 is 170.
Current published forecasts based on the previously approved PAN of 200, indicate that the number of reception places required for reception for the next four intake years will be below the PAN for the area, leaving surplus places in some schools:
Draft forecast based on a PAN of 170 shows the following places will be required:
These figures indicate that even with a PAN reduction at Low Ash Primary school there will be surplus places in reception in the coming years.
The School Admissions Code requires that all admission authorities consult where they propose to reduce a PAN. Bradford Council, as the Admission Authority, is therefore seeking representations on the proposed change to the PAN for Low Ash Primary School in the Shipley 1 planning area.
In accordance with the School Admissions Code (2014), the Council is consulting with key stakeholders, including;
· Low Ash Primary School – Head/Governing Body/ 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 has been sent to the Schools Adjudicator.
The school has been asked to publish the proposal on their website and include details in their newsletter.
This consultation will run for six weeks from Tuesday 5 November 2019 to Tuesday 17 December 2019, after which time any representations received will be considered and a report taken to the Council’s Executive Committee for a decision to be made on the PAN for Low Ash Primary School.
Bradford Council proposes to reduce the PAN at Low Ash Primary School from 90 to 60 from 1 September 2021.
This means that the maximum number of pupils intended to be admitted in Reception in 2021, and subsequent Reception cohorts, will be 60. 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 the Council 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. The Council’s proposal to reduce the PAN at Low Ash should limit the number of available places in neighbouring schools to enable the school to operate more efficiently and cost effectively.
· Due to the lower numbers of younger children registered with the NHS who will require a school place in the coming years, the Council expects that there will be sufficient school places available for local children if the PAN is reduced. If agreed, the overall PAN for the Shipley 1 planning area will be 170 from 2021.
Bradford Council believes that reducing the PAN will assist local schools 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.
Please complete the online survey to tell us your thoughts on the proposal to reduce the PAN at Low Ash Primary School from 90 to 60 from 1 September 2021.