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Stalybridge Primary and Nursery Places Review


Service Area: Services for Children and Young People

Subject Matter:

Stalybridge Primary and Nursery Places Review

Date:

23rd May 2007

Decision Taker:

Cllr Allison Gwynne - Cabinet Deputy Services for Children and Young People

Reporting Officer:

Ian Smith - Executive Director for Services for Children and Young People.

Report Summary:

The Council has a statutory responsibility under the Education Act 1996, to secure sufficient and suitable places for pupils in its area. In addition, the Department for Education Skills (DfES) places a duty on Local Authorities to specifically consider action in relation to surplus places.

In undertaking this duty, Tameside Council is working through a process of reviewing primary school places on an area basis. This has already been completed in other areas of the borough and commenced in Stalybridge in the autumn term, 2006.

A consultation document was compiled setting out the detail of the provision of places in Stalybridge. The consultation document considered current and predicted numbers, nursery provision and school standards. Consultation took place during February and March 2007.

The final report is the result of the consultation process. It summarises the comments and concerns voiced by governors, staff, parents and local residents. The Council recognises that schools each have their own unique ethos and part to play in the local community. Stalybridge has seen a large amount of new housing over the past few years and this has been particularly concentrated along the Huddersfield Road corridor and in the town centre areas. This along with a potential upward trend in the birth rate has led to a cautious approach to changes at this time. It will be necessary to revisit the review in two years time.

Ridgehill area

All of the responses received relating to the proposed reductions in the Published Admission Numbers at both Ridgehill Primary School and Arlies Primary School were in favour of the proposals. The Council therefore recommends that statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Numbers at Ridgehill Primary Schools and Arlies Primary School in line with option R1 from September 2008.

All of the responses received relating to the proposed reductions in nursery places were against the proposals. All the responses related to provision at Ridgehill Primary School.

The staff and governors of Ridgehill argued that the provision was valuable in a deprived area and two alternative suggestions were proposed. Ridgehill has consistently taken higher numbers into its nursery than the number of children being admitted into Reception. The Children's Centre that is co-located with Ridgehill will open in the summer of 2007, other Children's Centres in Tameside have been fully operational within nine months of opening. The Children's Centre will have a 52 place day nursery and some of the places will be available for 3 and 4 year old children. However, at this stage it is difficult to predict what impact this may have on the school's nursery intake. Taking all these factors into account, the Council considers that it is reasonable to recommend a transitional arrangement of a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery at Ridgehill Primary School from September 2008. This transitional arrangement will be reviewed for the September 2010 intake.

No responses were received relating to Arlies Primary School. In January 2007, there were 26 children in nursery and 22 in Reception, in 2006 there were 22 children in nursery and 27 in Reception and in 2005, there were 33 in nursery and 28 in Reception. The number of children accessing nursery provision at the school seems to closely match the number of children entering Reception. The Council therefore recommends that the nursery is reduced to a 26 place (13 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

Stalyhill area

There are no recommendations relating to the Stalyhill area.

Huddersfield Road corridor area

There was only one proposal to reduce surplus places in this area and that was at Millbrook Primary School. All the responses received in relation to this proposal were against the reduction in the Published Admission Number. The school has the largest surplus capacity in Tameside at 40% and the school design does not lend itself easily to having space re-designated for other use. Many of the responses said that the school needed room to expand following its outstanding OFSTED report and a perceived increase in demand due to the large amount of new housing in the area.

Two alternative suggestions were proposed to reduce the Published Admission Number to 25 and to reduce the Published Admission Number at Buckton Vale Primary School. The proposed reduction in the Published Admission Number at Buckton Vale was considered before the consultation paper was launched, however, it was rejected as an option as it does not remove any surplus places from Millbrook and therefore does not address the surplus capacity in the area. Having taken into account all the points raised, the Council recommends that the Published Admission Number at Millbrook Primary School is reduced to 25 for September 2008. This will be reviewed for the September 2010 intake.

All three of the responses received relating to the reduction in nursery provision at Millbrook Primary School, were against the proposal. Currently, 45 children attend the nursery, in 2005/06, 34 children attended and in 2004/05, 49 children attended. It would therefore seem that a 52 place nursery would be of sufficient size to accommodate all the children wanting places. The Council recommends that the nursery at Millbrook is reduced to 52 places (26 FTE) for September 2008.

No responses were received relating to the proposed reduction in nursery places at Wild Bank Primary School, the Council therefore recommends that the nursery at Wild Bank Primary School is reduced to 52 places (26 FTE) for September 2008.

Town Centre area

The governing body of Gorse Hall School supported the proposal to reduce the number of nursery places at Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School. The Council therefore recommends that the nursery at Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School is reduced to 52 places (26 FTE) for September 2008.

No responses were received relating to the proposed reduction in nursery places at St Peter's Catholic Primary School, the Council therefore recommends that the nursery at St Peter's Catholic Primary School is reduced to 39 places (19.5 FTE) for September 2008.

Recommendations:

  1. Statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Numbers at Ridgehill Primary School from 60 to 45 from September 2008.

  2. Statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Number at Arlies Primary School from 45 to 30 from September 2008.

  3. Statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Number at Millbrook Primary School from 30 to 25 from September 2008.

  4. That the nursery at Ridgehill Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

  5. That the nursery at Arlies Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 26 place (13 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

  6. That the nursery at Millbrook Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

  7. That the nursery at Gorse Hall Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

  8. That the nursery at Wild Bank Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

  9. That the nursery at St Peter's Catholic Primary School is reduced from 40 places to a 39 place (19.5 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

  10. That the review of Stalybridge is revisited in the Spring Term of 2009 to ensure that the right number of places in both schools and nurseries are in the right areas and take account of changes in the local population.

Justification for Decision:

Adopting the recommendations will assist the Council in fulfilling its statutory requirements to secure sufficient and suitable places for pupils in its area, and its duty to consider action in relation to surplus places and to achieve the best educational facilities for the children of Tameside.

Alternative Options Rejected (if any):

  1. The Published Admission Number at Millbrook Primary School should remain at 30 and the PAN at Buckton Vale should be reduced to 30.

    Rationale for rejection. The alternative suggestion does not remove any surplus places from Millbrook and therefore does not address the surplus capacity in the area.

  2. That nursery numbers at Ridgehill Primary School should remain unchanged at 60 until the review is revisited in two years time.

    Rationale for rejection. The rationale for having nursery places in ratios of 1:13 is to comply with recommended staffing ratios. Therefore, the suggestion to leave nursery numbers at Ridgehill at 60 is not a viable option.

Consultees:

  • Parents
  • Schools
  • School governing Bodies
  • Elected members
  • Roman Catholic diocese
  • Unions
    • NUT
    • NASUWT
    • NAHT
    • ASCL
    • ATL
    • UNISON

Financial Implications: (Authorised by Borough Treasurer)

The Council receives schools funding via The Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The grant is ringfenced for schools and is allocated to Local Authorities on the basis of pupil numbers. The Stalybridge primary and nursery places review will not achieve any financial savings for the Council, however it will ensure an equitable match between the funding received by the Council via the DSG and the distribution of those resources to Tameside schools. The DfES have recently issued a consultation document ‘School Funding, Early Years and 14-16 provision' which includes proposals relating to the funding of early years provision in both the maintained (Council) and non-maintained (Private and Voluntary) sectors. The results of the consultation together with funding implications for the Council will be known during the autumn 2007 term.

Legal Implications (Authorised by Borough Solicitor)

The Council has a statutory responsibility under the Education Act 1996, to secure sufficient and suitable places for pupils in its area. In addition, the Department for Education Skills (DfES) places a duty on Local Authorities to specifically consider action in relation to surplus places. In undertaking this duty, Services for Children and Young People is working through a process of review of primary and nursery provision in Tameside to ensure that the most efficient and effective use of resources can be achieved to raise educational achievement for the young people of the Borough.

Risk Management:

There are several identified risks that the outcomes of the review will help to manage.

There is a risk of not meeting performance indicators relating to surplus places and the outcomes of the review will reduce surplus places in the borough over the coming years.

There is a risk of pupils not achieving their potential in smaller schools that are not full and the breadth of curriculum that can be offered and the outcome of the review will ensure a viable breadth of curriculum.
Links to Community Plan: The Community Strategy is centred around building a cohesive community. The recommendations outlined in this report will promote access to a high quality educational experience for children in Stalybridge by ensuring that education provision meets their long term needs.
Access to Information:

The background papers (including consultation documents and responses) relating to this report can be inspected by contacting the report writer by:

Telephone Number 0161 342 3302

1. Background

  1. Rationale for the Review

    The Council has a statutory responsibility under the Education Act 1996, to secure sufficient and suitable places for pupils in its area. In addition, the Department for Education Skills (DfES) places a duty on Local Authorities to specifically consider action in relation to surplus places.

    In undertaking this duty, Tameside Council is working through a process of reviewing primary school places on an area basis. This has already been completed in other areas of the borough and commenced in Stalybridge in the autumn term, 2006.

  2. Review Process

    A consultation document was compiled (Appendix 1) setting out the detail of the provision of places in Stalybridge. The consultation document considered current and predicted numbers, nursery provision and school standards.

    The Consultation Document found that:

    • Primary numbers have declined for a number of years but data shows that the birth rate has risen over the last two years. Even so, current indications show that the number of surplus places will only fall slightly for the next few years as larger year groups leave primary schools than the number of pupils expected to come into Reception classes. By January 2010, Stalybridge will have 489 surplus places within community and voluntary controlled primary schools.
    • Surplus places in Stalybridge are localised and due to a range of factors including the very specific geography of the area.
    • There has been a large amount of new housing development in the area over the last few years but this has not yet resulted in increased numbers in primary schools.
    • The largest number of surplus places, based on net capacity, are at Millbrook, Arlies, Ridgehill and Wild Bank primary schools.
    • The area has a history of community nurseries at Wildbank and Millbrook. Another five schools have maintained nursery provision and the three schools that don't have maintained nursery provision have private nursery provision either on site or within a very short distance.
    • The rising four's do not access provision in private nurseries and there are currently no play schemes in the area that can offer the free entitlement.
    • Due to the geographical location of Stalybridge primary schools, the proposals for resolving the issue of surplus places could sensibly be grouped into four geographical areas.

2. Basis for Consultation

The consultation document proposed consultation be undertaken on the basis of:

  1. Ridgehill area

    Option R1

        Current net capacity Proposed net capacity Change in net capacity Current PAN Proposed PAN
    Ridgehill Reduce to one and half form entry 420 315 -105 60 45
    Arlies Reduce to one form entry 300 210 -90 45 30
    Totals   720 525 -195 105 75

  2. Stalyhill Area

    This review does not propose any changes to Published Admission Numbers at either Stalyhill Infant or Stalyhill Junior Schools. Governors were consulted on various models of federation, particularly to take into account school admissions, and any benefits that federation could bring.

  3. Huddersfield Road corridor area

    Option H1

        Current net capacity Proposed net capacity Change in net capacity Current PAN Proposed PAN
    Millbrook Reduction in Published Admission Number 210 140 -70 30 20
    Totals   210 140 -70 30 20

  4. Town Centre area

    There are no proposals covering the Town Centre area relating to primary school pupil numbers.

  5. Nursery provision

    Option Nursery 1

    School PAN Proposed PAN Current number
    (part time)
    Current occupancy Occupancy 05/06 Proposed Number
    (part time)
    Arlies 45 30 52 34 22 26
    Gorse Hall 60 60 60 55 50 52
    Millbrook 30 20 60 48 34 52
    Ridge Hill 60 45 60 46 49 39
    St Peter's 30 30 40 32 39 39
    St Raphael's 30 30 26 26 35 26
    Wild Bank 20 20 60 38 43 52
    Totals 275 235 358 279 272 286

    3. Consultation Process

    During February and March 2007, consultation was undertaken on the options to reduce surplus places. All schools involved were invited to hold meetings for staff, parents and governors. Meetings were held with staff, parents and governors at Ridgehill Primary School and Millbrook Primary School, with governors at Stalyhill Infant and Stalyhill Junior Schools, with parents at Wild Bank Primary School and with staff and parents at Arlies Primary School. An open public meeting in the evening at Stalybridge Civic Hall was also organised. Other partners consulted included:

    • Diocesan representatives
    • Unions and professional associations
    • Ward Councillors
    • Cllr D Dickinson, Opposition Spokesperson for Education

    Copies of the Stalybridge Primary and Nursery Places Review document were distributed to all schools and the document was available on the Tameside MBC website. All consultees were given the opportunity to respond in writing.

    4. Responses to the Consultation

    The Council received 50 written responses to the consultation by the due date. All of these responses were from staff, parents and governors of Stalybridge primary schools and local residents. A written response was made to all those who could be identified.

    The responses from each area from each school have been grouped into comments and concerns and alternative suggestions followed by the Council's response. Proposals relating to school admission numbers are dealt with in sections 4.1 to 4.5 followed by proposals relating to nursery numbers in sections 4.6 to 4.11.

    Ridgehill Area

    Proposals to reduce the Published Admission Number at Arlies Primary School from 45 to 30

    One response from a parent was received, which was in favour of the proposal. Additionally, the governing body of the school responded to the annual consultation on admission arrangements asking for the Published Admission Number to be reduced to 30.

    Proposals to reduce the Published Admission Number at Ridgehill Primary School from 60 to 45

    Four responses were received, one from a school governor, one from the Headteacher, one from an individual staff member and one from the staff group as a whole. All of the responses were in favour of the proposal.

    Huddersfield Road Corridor

    Proposals to reduce the Published Admission Number at Millbrook Primary School from 30 to 20

    34 responses were received. One response was in favour of the proposals and 33 were against. One response was received on behalf of the governing body, nine members of staff responded on an individual basis, 16 parents responded and seven local residents responded. Concerns included:

    Concern Services for Children and Young People response
    Reducing the PAN will not allow the school to grow in response to the outstanding OFSTED report There are currently places available in five out of seven of the year groups but no more than 3 places are available in any of those year groups. A reduction in the PAN to 20 reflects the previous and current intake over the last three years.
    Reducing the PAN will mean a smaller budget and less resources Schools are funded based on the number of pupils on roll, reducing the PAN will not automatically reduce budgets. However, reducing the PAN to 20 may mean that the school cannot increase its budget by attracting more children.
    Having a PAN of 20 will mean mixed age classes The school currently has approximately 20 pupils in each class so the proposals need not necessarily change the way that classes are currently organised within the school.
    Reduce the PAN at other schools on the Huddersfield Road corridor and keep Millbrook at 30 It was not possible to reduce the PAN at Wildbank since reducing below its current number of 20 would have made the school less viable. The situation at other schools was also considered and a reduction in PANs at these schools was not considered a viable option.
    The population in the area is rising There is a lot of additional housing being built in the area and this may well generate additional pupil numbers in future years hence the need to revisit the review in 2009.
    There is still a doubt about the future of Millbrook and staff feel their efforts have been worthless This is not the case. The proposal to reduce the PAN at the school is to manage the current 40% surplus capacity at the school, the largest in Tameside. The proposed reduction in the PAN is in line with numbers currently in the school. The need to revisit the review in 2009 is to ensure that the right number of places are in the right areas and take account of changes in the local population.
    Reduce the PAN to 25 instead of 20 This is an option that has been considered in the Key Decision Report in the paragraph below.
    The consultation was limited and did not take into account the needs of the community The consultation methods used in Stalybridge have been used in all previous school reviews, both primary and secondary and have been found to be thorough.

    Alternative Suggestion

    Five respondents including the governing body and five members of staff suggested that the PAN at Millbrook Primary Schools should be reduced to 25 as opposed to 20. The respondents consider the benefits to be:

    • To reduce the PAN to 25 would give the school the ability to respond to increased demand following the outstanding OFSTED report and the increase in housing in the area
    • An intake of 25 would enable the school to continue to organise classes on a single year basis.
    • The school would be able to take additional transfers into all year groups throughout the year.
    • There will be no detrimental effect on denominational provision in the area.
    • Unit costs will still improve.

    Respondents feel that this would be a reasonable compromise that is justified and essential.

    Council Response to the Alternative Suggestion

    The alternative suggestion that the PAN at Millbrook Primary School should be reduced to 25 and not 20 would give the school some room for expansion should there be future demand has been considered. However, it would not reduce the surplus capacity as much as is desired by the DfES. If all year groups could be increased to 25 immediately, the surplus capacity would decrease from the current 40% to 16.6%. However, this is unlikely to happen and it is more likely that the surplus capacity would gradually drop over several years. The school design impedes the potential to re-designate space for other use, for example community use. This would not address the urgency to reduce take action as the Council is required to do by the DfES.

    The current allocation for Reception places in September 2007 is 20 although this may move either up or down before the start of the school year. This is an increase on the last four years, where the intake was 14 in 2006, 15 in 2005, 11 in 2004 and 15 in 2003.

    Given that the area is to be revisited in two years, and the most recent school intake has increased on previous years, reducing the admission number to 25 and reducing the capacity accordingly, would facilitate any potential growth.

    It would therefore seem sensible for the Local Authority to give serious consideration to this suggestion.

    Alternative Suggestion

    Six respondents, two parents, two members of staff and two local residents suggested that the PAN at Millbrook Primary School should remain at 30 and the PAN at Buckton Vale should be reduced to 30.

    Council Response to the Alternative Suggestion

    The consultation process was undertaken in line with DfES guidance given the document "Guidance on School Organisation Statutory Proposals" (Ref DfES/0395/2003) which sets out the arrangements that apply from 1 June 2003, for making changes to maintained schools. The guidance states that:

    "proposers must be able to demonstrate how they have taken into account the views expressed during the consultation in reaching a decision on the publication of the proposals. Where, in the course of consultation, a new option emerges which the proposers wish to consider, proposers should consult afresh in this option before proceeding to publish proposals."

    The alternative option put forward by two parents, two members of staff and two local residents does not remove any surplus places from Millbrook and therefore does not address the surplus capacity in the area

    The option is not considered a viable one on which to consult afresh

    Town Centre Area

    There were no proposals relating to school admission numbers for this area

    Stalyhill Area

    Consultation response to proposal for Stalyhill Infants and Stalyhill Junior Schools

    The proposal in the consultation document was to ask the governing bodies of both schools to examine the possibility of different models of federation. A joint response was received in relation to this proposal from both governing bodies. The response reads:

    "The Governors of Stalyhill Infant and Junior Schools have discussed the Stalybridge review document and considered the suggested federation of the two Governing Bodies.

    Although Governors do not wish to formally federate at this time they do accept the principle of working together to continue to ensure high standards and quality of education for all pupils.

    During the coming year governors will look at practical ways of translating principle into practise."

    Ridgehill Area

    Proposals to reduce the number of nursery places at Arlies Primary School

    No responses were received in relation to this proposal.

    Proposals to reduce the number of nursery places at Ridgehill Primary School

    Four responses were received from the Headteacher, a school governor, an individual member of staff and a response from the staff team, all of which were against the proposal. Concerns included:

    Concern Services for Children and Young People response
    Ridgehill is one of the most deprived areas of Tameside and attendance at nursery helps children improve their social skills Whilst it is agreed that Ridgehill is one of the most deprived areas of the borough, the school is not unique as was acknowledged in the response from the Headteacher.
    Time is needed for the Children's Centre to get established The Children's Centre is planned to open in Summer 2007 and the provision will include a 52 place 0 – 5 day nursery. Where Children's Centres have been opened in other areas of the borough, the early years provision is well established within nine months.
    Social Service and foster carers request places at the nursery regularly and at short notice The school will benefit from having additional Children's Centre provision on site that complement the school's provision and be able to offer a service to other agencies.

    Alternative Suggestion

    Two responses including the Headteacher and staff group suggested that the nursery number should be reduced to 52 as opposed to 39. The respondents consider the benefits to be:

    • It would be prudent to continue with the valuable and necessary provision in the community which is paying dividends.
    • 3 year old children benefit from additional time in the nursery
    • We have 41 pupils registered to start at the nursery from September and the number is likely to increase for a January intake
    • This would enable the school to continue to identify difficulties or concerns early and meet the child's needs in the most appropriate manner and at the earliest time.
    • It would enable the school to continue to support families in need.

    Respondents feel that this would be a reasonable transition arrangement until the review is revisited in two years time.

    Council Response to the Alternative Suggestion

    The rationale for reducing nursery numbers is clearly explained in the consultation document including the proposals to have nursery numbers in ratios of 1:13 to comply with staffing legislation and has been applied in all the area primary reviews that have been conducted in the borough so far. All parents have an entitlement to 12 and a half hours a week free nursery provision from the term after their child becomes three until they are due to start in reception and this entitlement will increase to 15 hours per week by 2010. In effect, this means that some children, dependent on when their birthday falls, are entitled to up to 5 terms of nursery education. For example, if a child is 3 in October 2007, they are entitled to free nursery education from the following January but will not start in Reception until September 2009. The Council has a commitment to providing one year of free nursery provision before a child enters reception class. The entitlement does not have to be provided within a mainstream school setting. Tameside has actively encouraged a mixed economy across the borough of school, private and voluntary settings to provide a sufficiency of places.

    The falling pupil numbers in the Ridgehill area have enabled the nursery at the school to admit three year olds in January and after Easter, in effect, some children are able to access up to five terms of nursery provision. This has undoubtedly been beneficial for the children from a socially deprived area. However, not all schools are able to offer this and Ridgehill is not in a unique position in respect of the deprived nature of the area. Ridgehill has consistently taken higher numbers into its nursery than the number of children being admitted into Reception. In January 2007, there were 49 children in the nursery and 38 in Reception, in January 2006, there were 49 children in the nursery and 40 in Reception and in January 2005, there were 52 children in the nursery and 39 in Reception.

    The Children's Centre that is co-located with Ridgehill will open in the summer of 2007, other Children's Centres in Tameside have been fully operational within a 9 months of opening. The Children's Centre will have a 52 place day nursery and some of the places will be available for 3 and 4 year old children. However, at this stage it is difficult to predict what impact this may have on parental preferences, and the related school nursery intake. The Council is keen to both respond to local need and to maintain consistency of service. It would therefore seem sensible for the Local Authority to give serious consideration to this proposal.

    Alternative Suggestion

    Two respondents, a school governor and a member of staff, suggested that nursery numbers should remain unchanged at 60 until the review is revisited in two years time. Both respondents site all of the same reasons as are listed above.

    Council Response to the Alternative Suggestion

    As explained above, the rationale for having nursery places in ratios of 1:13 is to comply with recommended staffing ratios. Therefore, the suggestion to leave nursery numbers at Ridgehill at 60 is not a viable option.

    Huddersfield Road corridor

    Proposals to reduce the number of nursery places at Millbrook Primary School

    Three responses were received, all of which were against the proposal.

    The responses were received from two parents and one carer. Two of the respondents were concerned that reducing the number of places would reduce the funding for the nursery. A reduction in funding would occur if the number of nursery places was reduced. However, this would be offset to some extent if the number of children increased in the school.

    One respondent was concerned that children would not be able to get a place at the nursery. Currently, 45 children attend the nursery, in 2005/06, 34 children attended and in 2004/05, 49 children attended. It would therefore seem that a 52 place nursery would be of sufficient size to accommodate all the children wanting places. A 52 part time place nursery, normally caters for a two form entry school.

    Proposals to reduce the number of nursery places at Wild Bank Primary School

    No responses were received in relation to this proposal

    Town Centre Area

    Proposals to reduce the number of nursery places at Gorse Hall Primary School

    One response was received from the governing body in favour of the proposal.

    Proposals to reduce the number of nursery places at St Peter's Catholic Primary School

    Reduction in the number of nursery places from 40 to 39. No responses were received in relation to this proposal

    School PAN Proposed PAN Recommended PAN Current number
    (part time)
    Proposed Number
    (part time)
    Recommended Number
    (part time)
    Arlies 45 30 30 52 26 26
    Ridge Hill 60 45 45 60 39 52
    Millbrook 30 20 25 60 52 52
    St Raphael's 30 30 30 26 26 26
    Wild Bank 20 20 20 60 52 52
    St Paul's 45 45 45 0 0 0
    Buckton Vale 40 40 40 0 0 0
    Stalyhill Infants 60 60 60 0 0 0
    Stalyhill Juniors 60 60 60 0 0 0
    Gorse Hall 60 60 60 60 52 52
    St Peter's 30 30 30 40 39 39
    Totals 275 235 240 358 286 299

    5. Summary

    The provision of primary school places in Stalybridge has been subject to review as part of the Council's on going review of primary and nursery provision across Tameside.

    The Council aims in carrying out the reviews is threefold, namely to:

    • Remove surplus places by considering the balance between the supply and the projected demand for school places
    • Provide a quality environment to meet the educational needs of pupils
    • Maximise the efficient and effective use of resources

    The review, published in February 2007, outlined options for provision in four geographical areas of Stalybridge, which the Council believes will reduce surplus places and meet the needs of a modern curriculum.

    Consultation took place during February and March 2007.

    The final report is the result of the consultation process. It summarises the comments and concerns voiced by governors, staff, parents and local residents. The Council recognises that schools each have their own unique ethos and part to play in the local community. Stalybridge has seen a large amount of new housing over the past few years and this has been particularly concentrated along the Huddersfield Road corridor and in the town centre areas. This along with a potential upward trend in the birth rate has led to a cautious approach to changes at this time. It will be necessary to revisit the review in two years time.

    Ridgehill Area

    All of the responses received relating to the proposed reductions in the Published Admission Numbers at both Ridgehill Primary School and Arlies Primary School were in favour of the proposals. The Council therefore recommends that statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Numbers at Ridgehill Primary Schools and Arlies Primary School in line with option R1 from September 2008.

    All of the responses received relating to the proposed reductions in nursery places were against the proposals. All the responses related to provision at Ridgehill Primary School.

    The staff and governors of Ridgehill argued that the provision was valuable in a deprived area and two alternative suggestions were proposed. Ridgehill has consistently taken higher numbers into its nursery than the number of children being admitted into Reception. The Children's Centre that is co-located with Ridgehill will open in the summer of 2007, other Children's Centres in Tameside have been fully operational within nine months of opening. The Children's Centre will have a 52 place day nursery and some of the places will be available for 3 and 4 year old children. However, at this stage it is difficult to predict what impact this may have on the school's nursery intake. Taking all these factors into account, the Council considers that it is reasonable to recommend a transitional arrangement of a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery at Ridgehill Primary School from September 2008. This transitional arrangement will be reviewed for the September 2010 intake.

    No responses were received relating to Arlies Primary School. In January 2007, there were 26 children in nursery and 22 in Reception, in 2006 there were 22 children in nursery and 27 in Reception and in 2005, there were 33 in nursery and 28 in Reception. The number of children accessing nursery provision at the school seems to closely match the number of children entering Reception. The Council therefore recommends that the nursery is reduced to a 26 place (13 FTE) nursery from September 2008.

    Stalyhill Area

    There are no recommendations relating to the Stalyhill area.

    Huddersfield Road Corridor Area

    There was only one proposal to reduce surplus places in this area and that was at Millbrook Primary School. All the responses received in relation to this proposal were against the reduction in the Published Admission Number. The school has the largest surplus capacity in Tameside at 40% and the school design does not lend itself easily to having space re-designated for other use. Many of the responses said that the school needed room to expand following its outstanding OFSTED report and a perceived increase in demand due to the large amount of new housing in the area.

    Two alternative suggestions were proposed to reduce the Published Admission Number to 25 and to reduce the Published Admission Number at Buckton Vale Primary School. The proposed reduction in the Published Admission Number at Buckton Vale was considered before the consultation paper was launched, however, it was rejected as an option as it does not remove any surplus places from Millbrook and therefore does not address the surplus capacity in the area. Having taken into account all the points raised, the Council recommends that the Published Admission Number at Millbrook Primary School is reduced to 25 for September 2008. This will be reviewed for the September 2010 intake.

    All three of the responses received relating to the reduction in nursery provision at Millbrook Primary School, were against the proposal. Currently, 45 children attend the nursery, in 2005/06, 34 children attended and in 2004/05, 49 children attended. It would therefore seem that a 52 place nursery would be of sufficient size to accommodate all the children wanting places. The Council recommends that the nursery at Millbrook is reduced to 52 places (26 FTE) for September 2008.

    No responses were received relating to the proposed reduction in nursery places at Wild Bank Primary School, the Council therefore recommends that the nursery at Wild Bank Primary School is reduced to 52 places (26 FTE) for September 2008.

    Town Centre Area

    The governing body of Gorse Hall School supported the proposal to reduce the number of nursery places at Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School. The Council therefore recommends that the nursery at Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School is reduced to 52 places (26 FTE) for September 2008.

    No responses were received relating to the proposed reduction in nursery places at St Peter's Catholic Primary School, the Council therefore recommends that the nursery at St Peter's Catholic Primary School is reduced to 39 places (19.5 FTE) for September 2008.

    6. Recommendations

    • Statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Numbers at Ridgehill Primary School from 60 to 45 from September 2008.
    • Statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Number at Arlies Primary School from 45 to 30 from September 2008.
    • Statutory proposals are published to reduce the Published Admission Number at Millbrook Primary School from 30 to 25 from September 2008.
    • That the nursery at Ridgehill Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.
    • That the nursery at Arlies Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 26 place (13 FTE) nursery from September 2008.
    • That the nursery at Millbrook Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.
    • That the nursery at Gorse Hall Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.
    • That the nursery at Wild Bank Primary School is reduced from 60 places to a 52 place (26 FTE) nursery from September 2008.
    • That the nursery at St Peter's Catholic Primary School is reduced from 40 places to a 39 place (19.5 FTE) nursery from September 2008.
    • That the review of Stalybridge is revisited in the Spring Term of 2009 to ensure that the right number of places in both schools and nurseries are in the right areas and take account of changes in the local population.

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