Agenda item

Phase 1 Pupil Place Planning


Having previously declared a prejudicial interest, Councillor Helen Collinson vacated the room during consideration of this item (minute 77 refers).


The Assistant Director of Education introduced the report of the Director of Children, Families and Education, which outlined the recommendations which arose from the phase 1 of the pupil place planning review. As the responsible authority for maintained schools, the importance of the council managing surplus and demand for pupil places in line with statutory responsibilities was outlined. It was reported that the dioceses of both Shrewsbury and Chester had supported the recommendations in the report which demonstrated the strength in partnership and collaborative working across the education sector.


Councillor Chris Cooke read a statement which queried the accuracy of the future occupancy projections. It was outlined that the Council should be making the most of opportunities to reduce inequalities by allowing schools in areas of greater social need to remain open and thrive with smaller class sizes which lead to better social and educational outcomes.


A discussion followed with Members querying how the projections were established, and whether the number of children in early years provision at schools was considered. It was clarified that as not all schools had an early years facility, in order to ensure consistency, only foundation 2 to year 6 were taken into account.


Following the proposal of suggested amendments in relation to the removal of recommendations 7 and 8 in the report and keeping the schools referred to open, the Chair agreed to adjourn the meeting at 7.00pm for consultation and legal advice on the proposed amendments.


The meeting resumed at 7.10pm.


Councillor Wendy Clements moved the recommendations as in the report, and having been seconded by Councillor Kate Cannon, the motion was put and carried (8:1), and it was -


Resolved (8:1) – That:


(1)  the outcome of phase 1 of the Pupil Place Planning review regarding small planning areas: Beechwood, Central Birkenhead, North Birkenhead, South Birkenhead, Noctorum and Prenton as outlined in the Findings report attached at appendix 1 be noted;


(2)  recommendation 1, that the Diocese of Shrewsbury decommission existing teaching space in St Anne’s Primary School and repurpose for alternative use to reduce the overall capacity of the school be approved;


(3)  recommendation 2, that in principle agreement is given for the establishment of a new school in the small planning area of North Birkenhead to meet the demand for new school places over the next 15 years be approved. This will be the subject of future reports for Members’ consideration as more details are developed;


(4)  recommendation 3, to reduce Pupil Admission Numbers at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School as agreed by the Diocese of Shrewsbury and Holy Family Multi Academy Trust (MAT) be approved;


(5)  recommendation 4, to reduce Pupil Admission Numbers at Christchurch Church of England (CE) Birkenhead as agreed by the Diocese of Chester be approved.


(6)  recommendation 5 relating to Woodchurch Road Primary as outlined in the report ‘Admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled primary and secondary schools and the co-ordinated admission schemes for 2023-24’ as considered and approved by the Children, Young People and Education Committee at its meeting on 31 January, 2022 be noted;


(7)  a formal consultation on recommendation 6 regarding the amalgamation of St Peter’s Catholic Primary School and St Paul’s Catholic Primary School be undertaken. This would involve closure of both schools and opening of a new combined school on one site. Pupils from both schools would be guaranteed a place at the single school;


(8)  a formal consultation on recommendation 7 regarding the amalgamation of Manor Primary and Hillside Primary commencing 9th May, 2022 be undertaken. This would involve closure of both schools and opening of a new combined school on one site. Pupils from both schools would be guaranteed a place at the single school. In line with statutory guidance, this recommendation requires a formal consultation.


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