The Interim director of
education presented the Draft report which was due to be presented
at Cabinet and detailed the following:
- The mainstream pupil
projection of available places vs school capacity and approve the
proposed three year school supply strategy.
- The temporary expansion
of Smitham Primary by one form of entry
from September 2019.
- The delegated decision
taken by the Executive Director of Children Families and Education
, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children Young People
and Learning to close St Andrew’s CofE High school from August 2020.
- The updated SEND supply
strategy for the next three academic years.
- Completion of the
refurbishment of Cotelands PRU building
at John Ruskin College.
- Croydon commissioned by
the EFSA to lead on the delivery of Addington Valley
- An update on the
partnership with Croydon College on the establishment of local post
- The continued expansion
of secondary autism enhanced learning provision at Oasis
- The proposed
feasibility option regarding Red Gates, St Giles and Priory Special
- Update on fire safety
works at Croydon community schools
- The updated
Schools’ Maintenance Plan for 2019/20.
- The updated Capital
- The number of children
who received their first or top three preference schools for
2018/19 admissions to primary and secondary school.
It was noted that there
was limited capacity in the south of borough whilst the north has
excess capacity and it was questioned if the LA had the ability to
do anything regarding this. Officers said that whilst there were
north and south planning of spaces, families could exercise their
right to send their children to any school of their choice
irrespective of location. This did make school place planning
complicated and schools have to make decisions based on forecasts
and seek advice on reduction of their PAN but the LA was clear on
ensuring provision of enough school places for children in the
A further question was
asked on the record of a child’s school journey and it was
requested that officers provide a map of excess places. Officers
responded that primary school places have to be allocated for
children within a certain mileage of their home, this was not
always the case with secondary allocation. Children were admitted
based on admissions criteria and not catchment. It was agreed that
Map of excess school places would be provided to
It was commented that
it was important that primary school children were allocated a
local school place to enable them to walk to school and if unable
to attend a local school, travel provisions to be made. Officers
responded that there was enough school places for children to
retain a local place but parents were able to make decisions to
send their children to schools out of the borough. Children are
able to travel for free on buses and trams.
A Member questioned
what was being done regarding schools that wanted to admit over
their agreed PAN’s due to them being their own admissions
authority. Officers responded that relationships with schools were
positive and they worked closely with them. The LA were confident
in challenging decisions made by schools due to their strong partnership working and whilst
they may not always have the impact or desired outcomes, the
opportunity was there to challenge and question decision
It was asked what
percentage of pupils secured their first preference schools,
officers responded that 64% of pupils secured their first and
second preference school and this percentage was higher than many
London boroughs. The aspiration was to improve on this percentage
A Member asked if the
current Housing Local Plan programme had affected pupil place
planning. Officers said that pupil place planning was not compiled
on the projections of children that may move into the borough.
There was information and intelligence gathered that was taken into
consideration in surplus planning of pupil places.
There were concerns
raised that if predicted population failed to occur, it would
affect the ability of new schools to recruit pupils. Officers
acknowledged that there was a percentage of surplice places in the
borough. The two new schools in the borough had opening through the
free school route. The LA would have to work closely with them to
provide support on the ability to recruit pupils.
It was further asked
how confident that Addington Valley Academy would be open in line
with its proposed timeline. Officers said that whilst it was a free
school, they had been working closely with them to identify and
provide support on issues, also taking into consideration every
eventuality to minimise the effect of any delays on
It was highlighted that
may children were still travelling to
school by car and it was questioned whether alternative school
travel could be built into future admissions policies. Officers
responded that many schools were their own admissions authority and
the Council did not own responsibility for their admissions policy.
The LA was however able to encourage and support schools with their
school travel plans, with some schools trailing pedestrian only
zones and school walking buses schemes which had been successful.
The Council was committed to continuing to encourage alternative
travel to school.
The Chair commented
that the strategy was robust but that in future, information be
provided to the sub-committee in a simpler form due to the quantity
of information contained in the report. Officers acknowledged that
work would be undertaken on future presentation of the report to
A vote of thanks was
extended to the officers in the Education Department and that they
were to be commended for their openness and transparency as well as
the hard work they do and decisions made in often very difficult
Information Request by
1. Pictorial map of
excess school places in the borough.
2. Data on the number
of primary age children that attend schools outside of the