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Worcester school places set for sharp increase
THE number of new places at several over-subscribed primary schools in Worcester could be about to rise.
Under the proposals Red Hill CE and St Joseph’s Catholic primary schools would see their annual reception intakes rise from 30 to 60, while Cranham Primary would go from 60 to 90, Stanley Road from 45 to 60 and Perry Wood Primary would add another 30 spaces to its roll.
The increased published admission numbers (PAN) are being proposed by Worcestershire County Council to meet growing demand for places at schools on the east side of Worcester.
The plans will enable the authority to accommodate 360 new starters compared to the current 225 – an increase of 135 places.
Last year, 15 children living in Red Hill’s catchment area faced going to schools in St John’s and Tolladine because there were not enough reception spaces.
A previous attempt to increase its capacity from 30 to 45 from September 2013 was shelved following concerns from parents.
Iain Farrimond, whose four-year-old son was one of the 15 children eventually found places at Nunnery Wood and Stanley Road primary schools, said his son was now “very happy”. He said: “We remain deeply angry about the situation we faced last year. “It should never have happened or been allowed to happen and while the council can be applauded for coming to a resolution, it should not have been necessary. “But I do welcome the benefit for future parents. The fact is, it looks as though it is less likely to happen again.”
Spencer Morris, headteacher at Red Hill, said the school was now better placed to cope with an increased intake following its Raising Achievement Plan, which had improved results.
“Obviously, there will be disruption if further building goes ahead but if this is what the consultation finds is needed, this will need to be managed and the growth could also bring advantages to Red Hill,” he said.
“An increase in PAN will mean that all parents who choose us as their first-choice school who live in catchment are more likely to get a place. Changes to the way schools are funded show that larger schools have seen an increase in their budgets in comparison to schools of 200 or less, and new staff could bring in new opportunities too.”
In 2012, 90 per cent of children received an offer from their first choice primary school and five per cent did not receive offers from those to which they applied.
Alison Cartwright, the council’s service manager, said the authority had a “statutory responsibility” to ensure there were enough places for all children wishing to attend school.
She said it would be down to the council to provide extra classrooms if they were needed.
A decision is due to be taken by the county’s cabinet in March.
The initial consultation ends today. To view the plans, visit worcestershire.gov.uk/schoolconsultations.