Decision details

Determination of the Statutory Notice to Enlarge Whitchurch Primary School

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member - Children services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

Determine statutory notice proposing the enlargement of Whitchurch Primary School to create additional pupil places.

Decision:

The Cabinet Member agrees that Whitchurch Primary School should be enlarged from 206 to 315 places from 1 September 2019.

Reasons for the decision:

Pupil projections based on population growth from new housing developments in Whitchurch in Bath and North East Somerset and on parental preference, indicate a future shortfall of primary school places in Whitchurch.

The Council has a statutory to duty provide sufficient school places to meet demand. In order to ensure that the Council can meet its statutory duty and for the places to be in the area in which they are needed where the pupils will be living, there is a need to create additional school places at Whitchurch Primary School.

Provision of additional places in this school will facilitate both existing and future local families being able to obtain a place for their children at their local school, which will help to strengthen community cohesion and make it viable for as many children as possible to be able to walk or cycle to school.

Expansion to create more places will help to increase parental choice in this area of the Authority where the local population is growing.

The school is popular with parents. Although the latest Ofsted report for Whitchurch states that the school has an overall rating of Requires Improvement, leadership and management, early years provision and personal development, behaviour and welfare were all judged as Good, with outcomes for pupils and the quality of teaching improving rapidly across the school. The Local Authority will continue to work with the school to support them in raising standards and to secure Good overall in its next inspection. 

As set out in the School Organisation Plan 2015-2019 it is the Council’s policy to expand existing local schools wherever this is possible. Whitchurch Primary School is located close to the areas of new housing development and the projected increased population growth. Together with additional land acquired and to be added to the school site, the site will have sufficient space to allow the expansion to take place.

The Decision Maker has considered all stakeholder contributions from the consultation process, attended the drop-in session for further consultation at the school and listened to the concerns expressed and read the written submissions from that session.

Alternative options considered:

To not enlarge the school and not create any additional places. This option was rejected as pupil projections based on future pupil numbers generated from new housing development and on parental preference, indicate a future shortfall of primary school places in this area of the Authority if action is not taken to add more places. The Council has a statutory duty to ensure the provision of sufficient school places to meet demand. These places should be located in the area of need and will help to promote diversity and increase parental choice. 

To enlarge other schools rather than Whitchurch Primary. This option was rejected as Whitchurch represents the most appropriate option for expansion as it is the only school in Whitchurch, it is popular with parents and the school is located in the area of projected future demand from new housing development, thus enabling the maximum number of children possible to attend their local school and be able to travel to school sustainably. 

To build a new school rather than enlarge the existing school. This option was rejected as the new housing developments in Whitchurch do not generate sufficient pupils to justify a whole new school, including land, being provided by a developer and where there is an existing school that can be expanded. Sufficient capital proportionate to the need generated by each development is being secured to invest in the expansion of local school infrastructure. 

Publication date: 15/05/2017

Date of decision: 15/05/2017

Effective from: 23/05/2017

Accompanying Documents: