As part of the process of making significant changes to an Academy there is a requirement to conduct a public consultation to allow full and open communication with stakeholders, to gather feedback and assemble a comprehensive range of responses.
Consultation period – Friday 10th June-Friday 8th July 2022
The Consultation is now closed.
The proposal is to increase the capacity of St Gabriel’s CofE Academy from a one form of entry primary school to a two form of entry primary school.
There is a high demand for school places from the local area with a rapidly growing population sustained by a large-scale housing development surrounding the school. Applications from the local area to the school significantly exceeded the published admissions number (30) in 2021 and 2022. Demand is almost certain to show a sustained increase in future years as the urban extension the school serves is less than 10% completed. There are well over 5,000 new homes still to be built over the next ten years, likely to generate at least a further five forms of entry across the development (150 children per year group). Planning approval has been in place since 2016 with the Local Authority (Rugby) to deliver a three form of entry Primary school on the existing school site. The additional school capacity will be realised by the creation of a new six- classroom teaching block (180 place capacity) delivered by the master developers. The current capacity of the school is 270 and the proposed capacity will be 420. The current admission number for the school is 30 which will eventually rise to 60.
Representative of a Local School: I would be interested in seeing the sufficiency planning for the primary sector across Rugby. As schools in Rugby we work in collaboration and the increase in numbers for this school should not mean that other schools are left without full registers. There is no information regarding need and sufficiency information apart from housing that is yet to be built. We know that sales increased during Covid but also that development is not moving at the same pace at the current time. While not slow – it is a really successful development – it is not as fast as it was – due, I’m sure, to the many external factors facing society.
The consultation has not made clear whether the additional numbers will start at reception and then grow with the school. Can I please have more information about the number of school places in the relevant year group/s across Rugby?
I have no doubt that there will be a need to grow and provide additional school places in the future. Would it be possible to please confirm when it is anticipated that the additional places will be offered?
Warwickshire sufficiency strategy (2021) shows a lack of available capacity in the Rugby North Central area (of which St Gabriel’s is part) now and increasingly worse each year to 2025. Available Intake capacity is low for 2022 and will demand will exceed current projected PAN availability by 2025 without this change. The Trust is mindful of working in partnership with Warwickshire to ensure other local schools are not negatively impacted by the increase of primary places in Houlton. The Trust proposes to increase in numbers gradually from intake in Reception, adding one additional class each year as they move through the school until 2027 by which time the school will have added an additional 210 places to the planning area. This will still leave the total available capacity of the area short of the forecast pupil numbers and so will mean other schools in the area will not have falling numbers as a result of this expansion. The Trust intends to increase the PAN of St Gabriel’s to 45 in 2023 and to 60 in 2025.
Admission Authorities: I fully support this proposal to increase the number of places available as the school grows.
Parent of a child at the school / Local Resident: I support this proposal as it enables families moving to Houlton to send their children to the local primary school.
Parent of a child at the school: I think that teaching can be compromised at the moment due to resourcing issues, so I believe increasing the school so rapidly will only add to a dip in teaching standards.
The Trust is committed to maintaining good standards across the school as it grows. By growing slowly and over time as children move through the school, the Trust will minimise funding pressure that comes with growth. The Trust is fully engaged with stakeholders, (the Local authority and Department for Education) to ensure sufficient funding is available for the proposal to be implemented without impacting educational standards.
Parent of a child at the school / Local Resident: I feel there is a need for the 2 form entry at St Gabriel’s as the development is growing very quickly and there is already a very high number of local children on waiting lists for each year group. I would strongly disagree to a three form entry as the school site is not big enough to accommodate such an extension, it would have a detrimental impact on the current school. I believe a new site should start being built very soon to accommodate future children moving into the area.
The Trust is not considering growing St Gabriel’s beyond a two-form of entry school at the moment but will engage in stakeholder discussions about the delivery of future places in the area as and when the need arises.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where does the funding for the change come from?
A. The funding for the capital works is provided by the Master Developer in line with their section 106 agreement with the Local Authority. Revenue funding for increased capacity is managed in consultation with the Local Authority and subsequently through central government pupil place funding.
Q. What will be the effect on other educational establishments in the area?
A. There is not anticipated to be a significant impact on other local educational establishments in the area due to the need to provide additional places. Growth will be gradual and in consultation with the Local Authority to minimise the impact on existing schools.
Q. Will there be any changes to the schools admission arrangements as a result of the expansion?
A. No. The admission arrangements remain the same for entry to the school. The Published admission number (PAN) has been determined to increase in September 2023 to 45 and will increase to 60 in the future in line with anticipated demand.