What Brighton schools are doing against declining student numbers Brighton News

DIRECTORS facing reductions in admissions believe all schools must find a way to resolve the problem among themselves.

Seven primary schools in Brighton and Hove face a reduction in their intake of a full class or half a class from 2023 as lower birth rates mean schools in the city have excess places.

Primary school principals Rudyard Kipling and Woodingdean believe that the solution lies in bringing together the principals of the city’s schools so that between them they can find a less drastic solution.

The reason for the move is that Brighton and Hove City Council predicts that only 1,930 will apply for primary and child places in September 2025 – down 20% from this year.

Both Woodingdean schools are facing a reduction in the number of published admissions (PANs) from 60 students to 45, which school principals say will result in co-education.

When the board told the two Woodingdean schools and Saltdean Primary that they were facing a reduction in PAN, the three principals came together to find a solution on their own and found that Saltdean was happy to reduce inscriptions from three to two.

There are few options for Woodingdean families. If they couldn’t get into both schools, the closest options are the two denominational schools in Rottingdean which are oversubscribed.

Argus Elementary School: Woodingdean has been hit by the problemWoodingdean Primary School has been hit by the problem

Rudyard Kipling Primary Director Euan Hanington said: “Our Woodingdean solution is not complicated, it is for the city council to also fire all the directors in Brighton and Hove to discuss how these surplus places can be resolved through a fairer share of taking the hit, rather than falling onto the shoulders of six schools serving disadvantaged communities.

“I heard that principals were starting to understand that they had to start reducing their ANP because it would affect schools like ours. For the moment, the principals have not had the opportunity to sit down together and say “I will reduce by 15”.

At Rudyard Kipling, classes are between 23 and 24 students and there is a full nursery for preschoolers ready to move on.

Woodingdean Elementary School Governor Karen Meeres said the board was making the school arbitrator’s appeal decisions “very literally” saying schools should not be tied to multiple admissions from 30.

She said, “They have this narrow view of looking at 15. They’ve targeted just four schools to cut 15. They also say coeducation is the only way to run two classes with a PAN of 45 if you cut it down. half of a classify.

“My point is that we need to go back and consult more broadly. By moving more schools from 60 to 55 with everyone, this is a solution.

“Many schools could then manage their budgets, it takes more collaboration and more debate with a step outside the box to find a solution. ”

She said small, disadvantaged schools would have their budgets confiscated and headed for a downward spiral, causing larger schools to become “untouchable.”

Argus: parents and students at Carden school protested against proposed cutsParents and students at Carden School protested against proposed cuts

Woodingdean Primary School Principal Gemma Chumnansin said: “We have spoken to our staff and none of them would like to work in a mixed-entry school.

“Our children came back after the pandemic with huge gaps in their learning that we are trying to close, and this gap between disadvantaged and dummies is huge.

“If we put the kids in grade one and grade two together, in terms of the children’s self-esteem and self-confidence, it would take a heavy hit for some of them. ”

Union adviser Jackie O’Quinn, opposition spokesperson on the Children, Youth and Skills committee, has attended some of the meetings online and says parents feel “really wronged.”

She said: “Board officials have already spoken to school leaders, I believe at some length, about the impact this would have on other smaller schools in more disadvantaged areas, if the PAN cuts were not to affect than these schools.

“The discussions seem to have gone unnoticed as most of the larger, more heavily subscribed schools have appealed against any decision to reduce their PAN, the most recent to appeal is Brunswick School.

“I think it’s a good idea for all the principals to meet, almost very likely, and discuss this thorny issue, but time is running out and as we approach the end of the term I think it is There is unlikely to be anything on this side of Christmas; times are tight after Christmas as well.

She said the school’s family policy had to be a reality rather than “empty words”

The Argus: Conservative Vanessa Brown criticized the board's handling of the issueConservative Vanessa Brown slammed the council’s handling of the issue

Spokeswoman for the Conservative Group on Children, Families, Youth and Skills Councilor Vanessa Brown said: with many school communities deciding to go their own way and stand up for their individual schools against the proposed changes by the board.

“Many of these school communities feel disproportionately targeted by the changes proposed by the board.

“It is the administration’s responsibility to show leadership in its family of schools policy by engaging with school leaders and this is something that we need to see improve as the consultation is drawing to a close. ”

School Organization Task Force chair Green Advisor Sarah Nield said senior officers have spoken with schools that have admissions of 60 or more, but none have shown willingness to reduce their admissions.

Three schools that have been asked to reduce their numbers for 2022, Downs Infants, Stanford Infants and Goldstone Primary have all successfully appealed to the schools adjudicator against the board’s decision.

The schools arbitrator has yet to release a decision on Brunswick Elementary School’s appeal.

She said: “In recent years, we have presented proposals to reduce the number of schools in the city’s larger schools, precisely because they would be proportionately less affected by such a decision than the smaller schools.

“Most of these schools opposed these proposals. They were then examined by the National Schools Judge, who ruled in their favor.

“Any attempt on our part to start over with the grandes écoles, without the support of their directors and their chairmen of governors, would expose us to the risk of a new challenge from the referee of the schools.

“Our denominational schools, academies or free schools are all very aware of the situation and we are committed to working in partnership with them in the future.

“However, we do not have the power to reduce the number of students in these schools.

“If one of the bigger schools offered to reduce their PAN, we would be delighted.

“I would like to stress that no decision has yet been taken on our proposals and that consultation is still ongoing.”

The Children, Youth and Skills Committee will receive a report on the experience feedback from the public consultation, currently underway, on the council’s website, during its meeting on Monday, January 10.

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This notice was published: 2021-12-14 09:04:34

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