Schools admission consultation 2023-24

This consultation is about the admission arrangements for primary schools in Salford. 

Schools must consult on their admission arrangements at least once every seven years or anytime a change is made to arrangements. This includes when a school want to reduce its published admission number.

Pupil place projections for the city show a decrease in the expected number of children who will be due to start school in reception. 

This is due to several factors including birth rates, migration and the COVID pandemic. This is not only a city-wide issue but a national issue, with primary schools reporting a decline in demand for places across the whole country.    

With less children starting school this will leave schools with unfilled places. This can have a significant financial impact on a school.

Following discussions with schools and their governing bodies, it is proposed to reduce the published admission number at the following three schools:

  • Cadishead Primary School - reduce the admission number from 60 pupils to 30 pupils
  • Marlborough Road Academy – reduce the admission number from 60 pupils to 45 pupils
  • Mossfield Primary School – reduce the admission number from 60 pupils to 30 pupils

For all three schools, the change in published admission number would be effective from the September 2023 reception intake. For children who have a place at the school in other year groups there will be no change.

This is the only change to the admission arrangements for these schools, and all other elements remain unchanged. We are only seeking views on the reduction in published admission number.

The local authority is the decision-maker for Cadishead Primary School and Mossfield Primary School. United Learning is the decision maker for Marlborough Road Academy.

The consultation runs from Friday 10 December 2021 until Friday 28 January 2022. 

The outcome of this consultation will be published here by Monday 28 February 2022.

To have your say on these proposals, please complete the relevant response form:

Why is this consultation happening?

The latest primary pupil forecasts show that similar to the national picture, Salford has experienced a reduction in the birth rate. This means there will be less children requiring a reception school place over the next four years (2022 to 2025).

When planning for school places across Salford, the city is split into 12 specific primary planning areas. This to ensure that there are sufficient school places across all areas of the city, allowing families to access local school provision.

Whilst the projected reduction in demand is not affecting the whole city, there are a number of planning areas where pupil data shows there will be fewer children requiring a Reception Year place going forward. Whilst Local Authorities aim to carry low levels of surplus capacity in order to manage any further in year demand, unacceptable high levels will have an impact on school budgets.   

In order to reduce the level of projected surplus to more manageable level across the areas affected, there are a number of schools, proposing a reduction in their schools published admission numbers (PAN). This decision has been reached following joint discussions and collaborative working with schools and governing bodies. Any reduction in PANs would commence from reception year, whilst ensuring sufficient capacity remains available across the area.

What is the reason for proposing a reduction in Public Admission Numbers (PAN)?

The latest primary forecast data shows over the next four years there will be less children requiring a reception place across a number of areas within the city. This could have a significant impact on individual school budgets in the long term. The approach to manage the projected level of surplus by reduction in PANs will reduce the risk of schools having to run a number of smaller classes, which would be costly due to the number of teaching/ support staff that would be required. It will also assist schools and provide stability in their long term planning, allowing them to continue to deliver high quality education and outcomes.

When will a reduction in PAN be applied and will it be across all other year groups?

If approved, the reduction in PAN will come into effect as of September 2023 and will be applied initially across Reception Year intake. There will be no changes to the admission intake across Years 1 to 6. The reduced PAN will then be applied year on year as the lower cohort of pupils move through the school.

Will there be a reduction in school staff and how will this be managed?

Any reduction in staff will be a gradual process to ensure sufficient staffing structures are in place for the number of pupils and classes.

Will there still be enough school places available to meet the needs of the local community?

Using pupil forecast data, the Local Authority has calculated how many reception places are required across each local area to meet projected demand over the next four years. In addition to meeting projected demand, the Local Authority will also ensure a level of surplus capacity remains, in order to manage any further in year demand.

Has any further demand that could come from new housing developments been taken into consideration when considering the proposals?

The Local Authority works closely with planners so we can understand the size of new developments and timeframes for delivery. As part of this and in order to manage the demand risk, a pupil yield calculation is used to calculate the number of additional pupils that could be generated from new developments.

New housing developments do not always generate additional children straight away, therefore it is very difficult to predict when additional demand could be felt, the age of the child or type of school required. There could also be families moving to a new development whose children are already in attendance at a local school. As such, the Local Authority monitors closely all areas of the city in order to capture any changes in demand in a timely manner.

What happens if pupil demand begins to rise?

Demand for school places does change over time. As such, all Local Authorities are required to produce pupil forecasts on an annual basis to ensure they can plan for and meet pupil demand. 

If demand for places began to rise, resulting in the need for additional places, the Local Authority would create additional capacity in the form of ‘bulge classes’, which will see the PAN for a particular year group increase. This can be achieved very quickly in agreement with the Headteacher and Governing Body. Or in agreement with the relevant Multi Academy Trust and Diocesan Board, where this applies. Should pupil forecasts begin to show a continuous increase in demand that would require additional places year on year, then the decision would be taken to proceed with a permanent increase in PAN.

What happens next?

The consultation runs from Friday 10 December 2021 until Friday 28 January 2022. Any person wishing to submit any views or comments on a proposal can do so by completing the relevant response form.

Views and comments received during this time will be taken into consideration and form part of the decision making process.

Any change in the published admission number would be effective from the September 2023 reception year intake. For children who have a place at the school in other year groups there will be no change.

The outcome and decision of this consultation will be published by Monday 28 February 2022.

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