Verbal introduction to the new School Place Planning Officer and opportunity for Members to ask questions on the School Place Planning process.
Declarations of Interest: None
Petitions, Public questions, Statements: Question from Angela Kertcher, from the campaign group ‘Save Warlingham Village Primary School’ asked, why a new site was being sought for Warlingham Village school at the HSG15 (Green Acres) site when a new bigger school would not be required until 2028 and with 400 new homes being built not all the homes would require a primary school place?
The Officer advised that his understanding is that the school would be an expansion of the current school, should the Local Plan be agreed, the area would see an increase of homes in the Warlingham area and children who would require a school place. He would be happy to discuss the matter outside of the Committee. Mrs Kertcher welcomed a meeting with the Officer.
Divisional Member for Warlingham, advised that the campaign to save the school was also around the request to protect the ethos of the village school feel by having a one form entry intake. She would also like to take part in the conversations between the Officer and Mrs Kertcher.
Officer in attendance: Mike Singleton, Service Manager for School Place Planning and Commissioning.
The Officer provided a verbal overview of key headlines for school place planning in Tandridge:
1. There is an increase in primary numbers due to housing and birth rates in Tandridge. The birth rate in the District peaked in 2018 and was at its highest point since 1994, this is bucking the trend for county and national levels.
2. Anecdotally, the rise could be due to the commuter belt and young families or couples who then start a family, moving from London to Surrey.
3. Numbers will need to be closely monitored as in some areas in Tandridge there may be an issue around reception places. As parts of the District are rural, working out the numbers required is a complex issue.
4. In 2023 it is predicted that there will be a deficit in secondary school places for year 7, and this will be monitored going forward.
5. A decision following the Local Plan enquiry is expected in the New Year. So unable to comment in any detail. School place planning is based on forecasts and in regards to housing the data is provided by Tandridge District Council for expected completions of new homes. Should the Local Plan be agreed, the forecast period to 2033 would require 750 extra primary places and 400 extra secondary school places.
Members Discussion- Key Points
The following questions were raised:
1. It was asked as Tandridge is unique as it borders other counties, what is the arrangement for pupils living outside of Surrey attending schools within the County?
The Officer advised that in terms of admissions, there is an admissions process and should a child meet the criteria for the admission process and space is available then they would be offered a place. The County border is not taken into consideration with regards to distance. In relation to place planning, the forecast is based on historical data of trends of how many places were filled in an intake. Place planning does not take into account the county in which the child lives.
2. A Member asked;
a) How far in advance is place planning carried out?
b) How long does it take to realise a new school?
c) How many new schools will be required?
The Officer responded to the questions
a) Place planning is approximately 10 years in advance, and his team are considering the impact of Local Plans and how this will affect future school places.
b) Depending on the data and what is required in an area, a bulge class is sometimes required for one year group or for a period of time to accommodate more school places. This period is normally around 2 or 3 years from looking at the data of birth rate to a school place being required.
c) It takes approximately 2-3 years to build a school, this would depend on the size and if it was an extension or a brand new school. However in relation to Tandridge, until the outcome of the Local Plan is decided, he would be unable to comment on what would be necessary for the District.
3. It was asked how SCC work with academies in relation to building new schools?
The Officer advised that should the Council decide a new school is required they must first consult, and seek views on creating a new school. There is then a process to seek an appropriate sponsor. The Council could build it should there be funding, however an academy trust would most likely take over the running of the school.
The Vice-Chairman thanked the Officer for their attendance and providing an overview to school place planning.