Agenda item

School Place Planning Strategy

The School Place Planning Strategy is a non-statutory strategy intended to provide information about the forecast supply and demand for school places for the coming years, and to set out principles for organisational change. The intended audience includes BCP elected members, schools and academies, the Department for Education and its agencies, the wider community. The strategy does not make proposals for organisational change, such as the opening of new schools, school closures, or change of admission numbers: it provides information to enable strategic planning.

Minutes:

The Interim Pupil Place Planning, Admissions and School Funding Manager, presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.

 

The School Place Planning Strategy was a non-statutory strategy intended to provide information about the forecast supply and demand for school places for the coming years, and to set out principles for organisational change. The intended audience included BCP elected members, schools and academies, the Department for Education, its agencies and the wider community. The strategy did not make proposals for organisational change, such as the opening of new schools, school closures, or change of admission numbers: it provided information to enable strategic planning.

 

The Committee discussed the report and comments were made, including:

 

  • The Chair requested ward boundaries be included in the maps provided
  • In response to a query, the Committee was advised that forecasting pupil numbers was a complex task which included known numbers of children in the area, number of school places currently available, using formulas for new housing estates, discussions with developers and whether new school provision would need to be provided
  • Different considerations and complexities highlighted.
  • Schools in Merley were highlighted and it was noted that they were popular and full at primary and middle phases and that Officers were in discussions with developers about what can be done to address the issues
  • An error was highlighted with on Page 16 regarding North West Poole needed to be amended to read Broadstone and Merley, not canford heath.
  • The age of transfer scheme was highlighted and it was noted that it was unusual to have a three tier system in one corner of the conurbation. A unique system of school organisation in that area where BCP has very little control due to them being Academy Trusts.
  • A Committee Member suggested how often the data to show rises and falls of children over decades waves of population every 20-25 years.  Higher levels of international migration to the country had an impact.
  • In response to a query regarding promoting walking and cycling to school and place planning, the Committee was advised   Financial, environmental and common sense try to minimise whilst recognising parental preference. Ensure supply of attractive educational offer -parent be happy with local offer.
  • The Portfolio Holder with responsibility for Covid Resilience and Schools and Skills referred to the place planning art as much as science with had many different levers which were beyond BCP’s control. Population cycles depends on economy. Sustainable and safe routes to school to promote the habit of walking and talking to school. First part is ensuring schools places available in right location at the right time
  • In response to a query regarding the percentage of pupils which attended grammar schools, the Committee was advised that this information could be provided (ACTION) and linked to that was the congestion around the grammar schools and that better transport needs to be investigated, the CE advised that a transport strategy could be shared at that time (ACTION).

 

The Chair summarised the discussions as follows:

 

  • Ward boundaries
  • 3 tier system in North West Poole
  • Waves in population
  • Transportation issues and sustainable transport
  • Percentage of pupils going to grammar schools

 

RESOLVED that the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted and provided comments on the School Place Planning Strategy 2021-2024.

Supporting documents: