The Service Manager Education and Support
Service introduced the report and stated that it was produced for
Committee on an annual basis and provided the key highlights of the
PPP. She explained that birth rates had hit a record high in
2015/16, but had reduced by 7% in 2020, which could leave surplus
places in schools in five years’ time. She stated that the
PPP allowed the team to think strategically about capital works,
such as where to place bulge classes, and which schools to work
with for additional places. She stated that all schools were
consulted on the PPP and when finding additional placements as
required. The Service Manager Education and Support Service stated
that the team currently had concerns regarding capacity in
Stanford-le-Hope and Corringham, which she hoped would be rectified
by Abbots Hall Primary becoming a two form entry. She stated that
the team also had concern regarding capacity in Tilbury and talks
were underway with both the Gateway Free School and Tilbury Pioneer
Academy regarding additional placements. She stated that the team
considered the PPP regularly at monthly meetings and were currently
considering Year 1 placements following the high birth rates in
2015/16. She mentioned that there had been over 4000 in-year
applications received for primary and secondary school placements,
due to families moving to England, moving to Thurrock, or
requesting different school placements. She explained that
approximately 2000 places had been offered, and explained that not
all 4000 requests had been offered a place due to factors such as
parents not moving to Thurrock after they had requested a place.
She explained that both Thames Park Academy and Orsett Heath
Academy were currently in temporary locations, with Thames Park
Academy scheduled to move to their permanent location in September
2022 and Orsett Heath Academy scheduled to move to their permanent
location in Easter 2023. She explained that Treetops School had
recently accepted additional classroom space, so would be moving to
their permanent location in Easter 2022.
The Parent Governor Representative asked if bulge classes could be removed once they were added. The Service Manager Education and Support Service replied that bulge classes were applied to a particular cohort, and the bulge class would remain until that cohort had left the school. The Parent Governor Representative then asked if some schools were oversubscribed. The Service Manager Education and Support Service replied that those areas marked in red in the report were areas of concern, such as Stanford-le-Hope, Corringham and Tilbury, but these were monitored monthly alongside in-year applications. Councillor Kent welcomed the report as he felt the PPP led to proactive decisions and was comprehensive. He questioned point 3 on page 77 of the agenda, and queried if parents had a choice in school places, and if not, if the report could be reflected to amend this. The Assistant Director Education and Skills replied that parents could only express a preference rather than having a choice and this would be removed.
RESOLVED: That the Committee:
1. Reviewed the PPP and noted the areas within Thurrock that will require additional school places going forward.
The Service Manager Education and Support Service left the meeting at 8.27pm.