Agenda item

Update on funding for school placement increase


The Forum considered the briefing paper on the expansion of Hope School, which provided an update on Department for Education funding for a two form of entry primary school. Hope is currently a one form entry school.


Southampton City Council Officers Clodagh Freeston, Service Manager – Education Strategy, Planning and Improvement, and Derek Wiles, Service Lead  - School Improvement, were present and with the consent of the chair addressed the Forum.


The Forum particularly noted the following:

·  It had been a surprise that this item was on the agenda as the forum had not been aware of this matter before the cabinet decision was made, and had only learnt of it via the local press.

·  Primary schools had recently been required to reduce their Published Admission Number (PAN) and make staff redundant due the surplus of primary school places in the city. Some of these schools are adjacent to Hope.

·  The Hope school was a two form entry school when it originally opened and has never been able to fill those places.  The PAN for September 2022 was 30 pupils.

·  The Hope school was part of the New Generation Academy Trust and was located in the central planning region of the city.

·  The new housing that had been built in the city had resulted in a redistribution of pupils throughout the city rather than an increase in the central area pupil population.

·  Pupil forecasting detailed that there would be a surplus of 221 Reception Year places in September 2021, which would rise to a surplus 291 by September 2025.  The forecasting included a planned reduction of PAN by 200 in September 2022.

·  The Pupil forecasting had taken into consideration new building plans for the City.

·  The planned reductions in school PAN’s has been carried out through formal consultation on school admission policies.

·  Further reductions in the PAN of primary and infant schools would be required in the coming years to protect school budgets and their capacity to deliver effective education.

·  There is a surplus of primary school places but there is a shortage of secondary schools places and provision for pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

·  The need for more secondary school places and SEND provision had been reported to the Department for Education, through the statutory reporting mechanisms.

·  Information about the long-term plans for funding the school or the economic viability for the school was not available.



(i)  the Forum supported the view that more suitable accommodation should be sought for the Hope School

(ii)  the Forum considered that the plans to increase the PAN for the Hope School from 30 to 60 would have an adverse impact on the existing schools and the provision of education in the city when there was a surplus of primary schools places which had required local schools to reduce their PAN and make staff redundances; and

(iii)  the Forum would write a letter to the Council requesting that they take the view of the Forum into account in their decision making

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