Consultation Period Starts on Proposals for Future Changes To Brighton & Hove School Admissions

via: Thomas Hawk (flickr)

Consultation has started on proposals for making future changes to school admissions arrangements in Brighton & Hove.

‘Light-touch’ temporary changes are proposed for secondary school catchment areas. These would take effect for a two-year period starting in September 2019.

Residents are also being asked for their views on proposals to reduce admissions numbers at five primary schools in the city. The schools are:

  • West Hove Infant (Connaught Road site)
  • Moulsecoomb Primary
  • Coombe Road Primary
  • Benfield Primary
  • Hertford Infant.

Forecasts of future pupil numbers at primary level indicate that there will be a reduction in numbers across the city in the coming years. This follows a bulge in pupil numbers in recent years. The aim is to ensure the future viability of all the city’s primary age schools.

The secondary school catchment areas proposals have been prompted by two factors. One is that rising pupils numbers are causing pressure on school places in some catchment areas.

The other is the decision by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to delay the opening of the new University of Brighton Academies Trust secondary free school, which will be called the Brighton and Hove Academy.

The proposals have been deliberately designed to be as ‘light-touch’ as possible, and to take into account as many factors as possible including accessibility and travel times.

They include three measures aimed at the Dorothy Stringer / Varndean catchment area:

  • An area north and east of Elm Grove would be incorporated into the Longhill High School catchment
  • An area at the northern end of the catchment area would be incorporated into the Patcham High School catchment area
  • Two areas to the west of the catchment area would be incorporated into the Blatchington Mill / Hove Park catchment area.

With regards to the Blatchington Mill / Hove Park catchment area:

  • A section to the west of the catchment area would be incorporated into the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy catchment area.

The consultation opened on 2 October and the closing date is 19 November 2017.

To give your views on the proposals, please visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/admissions-consultation

A series of public meetings will also be held during the consultation. They offer residents a chance to find out more about the proposals and to discuss them with council representatives.

The following public meetings have been confirmed:

Tuesday 3 October Coombe Road 3-5pm
Wednesday 4 October Longhill 6-8pm
Thursday 5 October Hertford Infant 3.30pm-5pm
Wednesday 11 October West Hove Infant (School Road) 6-8pm
Thursday 12 October Benfield Primary 3.30pm-5pm
Tuesday 31 October Patcham High 6-8pm
Wednesday 1 November West Hove Infant (Connaught Road) 3.30pm-5pm
Wednesday 1 November Dorothy Stringer 6-8pm
Saturday 4 November Brighthelm Centre 9-11am
Monday 6 November Stanford Junior 1.30pm-3pm
Thursday 9 November Elm Grove Primary 6-8pm

Further dates will be posted online when they are confirmed.

The catchment area proposals have been put forward by Brighton & Hove City Council’s children, young people and skills committee, with input from a working party of local headteachers and school governors.

Committee chair Councillor Dan Chapman said: “We want to reduce pressure on school places in the city’s catchment areas, and offer families greater clarity about which secondary school their child may go to.

“Government guidelines say parents should be able to look at a set of arrangements and understand easily how places for a school will be allocated. The temporary light touch changes we are proposing would achieve this.

“The primary age proposals aim to ensure the future viability of all the city’s primary age schools. We are committed to ensuring that all schools remain open.”

The city’s two secondary faith schools, Cardinal Newman and King’s, have their own admissions arrangements and are not affected by the catchment area proposals.

Admissions arrangements have to be agreed 18 months in advance. So decisions about school admissions for September 2019 need to be made by early 2018.

The committee report relating to these proposals can be found on pages 37-80 at the following link:

https://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/Published/C00000883/M00006649/$$ADocPackPublic.pdf

FURTHER INFORMATION

The University of Brighton Academies Trust is expected to open the new Brighton and Hove Academy at the Brighton General Hospital site in September 2019.

It is anticipated that this school will open without a catchment area in the first instance, using home to school distance instead as a tie-breaker to prioritise applications if they are oversubscribed.

It is not possible to guarantee families a place at their catchment area school or schools.

The council has legal duties to:

  • have enough school places across the city for all pupils in the city who require one
  • have a system for allocating school places that is fair, clear and objective.

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