Report of Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills
Councillor Sally Longford declared an interest as a governor of Middleton Primary School, and left the room during consideration of this item.
The Portfolio Holder for Business, Education and Skills introduced the report on the proposed expansion of Middleton Primary School.
Middleton Primary School is an OFSTED rated ‘Good’ school. A 4-week consultation took place with parents/carers, staff, governors, councillors local residents and citizens in April and May 2017 to expand the school’s capacity from 420 to 630 places.
RESOLVED to approve the expansion of Middleton Primary and Nursery School from a 420 place school to a 630 place school, from 1 September 2018.
Reasons for decisions
Although the city-wide picture for primary place provision is greatly improved, place pressures are still apparent in some areas, Wollaton being one of them. There has been an upward trend of pupil growth in this area and increasingly, there are more applications from within Middleton Primary’s immediate catchment area, than there are places available.
In the 2015/16 Reception year, Middleton Primary admitted additional pupils over the Published Admission Number (PAN) of 60. In the 2017/18 Reception year, they will again be admitting additional pupils over the current PAN. A longer term solution is needed to address the sustained growth in pupil numbers. From September 2018, additional teaching, learning and hall space will be required. If Middleton Primary does not expand, there will be insufficient capacity to accommodate the growth in the number of applications from families in the catchment area.
In order to meet the need and demand for school places in this area of Wollaton, it is proposed to expand Middleton Primary School from 420 to 630 places. There would be 90 pupils in each year group instead of 60 and the school would grow by one class per year (30 pupils) over a seven year period, until the school is full.
One of the 5 key objectives of the Council Plan 2015-19, is to ensure that every child in Nottingham is taught in a school that is judged good or outstanding by Ofsted. The proposal to expand Middleton Primary School also supports the Council priorities of access to a good school close to home for every young person in Nottingham, and to meet parental preferences of places for every child at a local primary school.
Parents/carers quite rightly expect their children to be offered a local school place and the case for expanding a school which delivers a quality provision in an area where there are insufficient school places is a strong one. It is the duty and the desire of both the Council and the School to maximise opportunities to deliver a quality education to the communities we serve.
Initial feasibility investigations (approved by Portfolio Holder Decision Ref: 2453) have confirmed that there is space on the site to expand, without compromising the quality of education and facilities. Any new buildings will be designed in collaboration with the school, to complement the existing build and be fit for the future of the growing school community.
The school leadership team and the governing body are fully committed in their support for the proposal to expand the school. Extensive considerations have been undertaken by the School Governing Body and staff. Middleton achieves very good results and outcomes for the children who attend and has been rated as a “Good” school by Ofsted.
Successful initial feasibility and early design investigations and a full and thorough consultation process with all stakeholders have been undertaken. The number of respondents in support of the proposal to expand the school exceeded the number against. One representation was made during the Statutory Notice stage, which is included at Appendix B, with a full response to the points raised. The full consultation results and summary of responses are included at Appendix A.
The initial estimated date of completion for Key Stage One is September 2018 and for Key Stage Two, is December 2019, but this is subject to the completion of full feasibility and design works. The build would be funded by Basic Need funding allocated to the Council by Central Government, for expanding primary place provision. At this stage, it is currently estimated that the expansion of Middleton Primary School would cost £4.1m.
The initial estimated date of completion for Key Stage One is September 2018 and for Key Stage Two, is December 2019, but this is subject to the completion of full feasibility and design works. The build would be funded by Basic Need funding allocated to the Council by Central Government, for expanding primary place provision. At this stage, it is currently estimated that the expansion of Middleton Primary School would cost £4.1million.
Other options considered
Add further temporary bulge years at Middleton Primary, in excess of the Pupil Admission Number. This is not a favourable or feasible option as it would not address the sustained pupil growth in the area and the school have no further capacity to accommodate additional children within the existing space.
Other potential school build / expansion options were also considered (Bluecoat and Southwold), but Middleton is the preferred option due to the reasons stated in this report.
Do nothing – this is not recommended as additional school places are required in the area. Sustained growth in pupil numbers required a permanent solution to meet the needs of the local community by providing a good school, close to home (as per the Council’s priorities).