90 Percent of Cornwall’s reception aged children get their first choice of school for September

Those parents who have applied for a school place for reception age children across Cornwall will today receive details of which school their child is due to attend in September. For the majority this will be good news.

I am pleased to say that the majority of children in Cornwall have been allocated a place at their first preference school. I would like to publicly like to thank the members of the Council’s admissions team who have worked extremely hard to process almost 6,000 applications over the past few weeks.

The Council received 5782 applications for new reception school places for pupils in Cornwall to start school in September 2015. Of those, 5242 (90.7 %) have been offered a place at their first preference school.

Of the 540 pupils who were not allocated their first preference school, 272 pupils have been allocated their second preference school and 53 pupils their third preference school. These figures show that 96.3% of children have been allocated one of their three preferences.

The 215 pupils (3.7%) who have not been allocated a place at either their first, second or third preference school, but have at the nearest school to their home address with room.

All reception age pupils who applied for a school place in Cornwall have been allocated a place.

So how does this compare with previous years? The fact is this years figures are slightly lower (3.1%) compared to 2014 New Reception admissions, when 94% of children were allocated a place in their first preference school, with 97.9% being allocated one of their three preferences. Then 106 (2.1%) children did not get a place in their first preference school. In 2013, 93.1% of children were allocated a place in their first preference school, with 97.5% being allocated one of their three preferences.

It is no secret and many will be aware that there has been increasing pressure on reception age school places in a number of areas across Cornwall, as the number of children requiring a school place continues to grow. Cornwall is not alone as this picture is mirrored nationally. The areas currently experiencing the greatest pressures are St Austell, Camborne, Pool and Redruth, St Agnes, St Teath and Camelford, Truro, Launceston and Newquay.

As result of this increasing pressure there has been an increase in the number of schools which are full for new reception admissions in September 2015. Cornwall has 235 primary schools, of which 227 have reception classes (with the remaining 8 junior schools). Of these 112 are currently full, compared with 93 schools in 2014 and 53 in 2013.

To meet the increasing demand for school places in primary schools, the Council have commissioned expansion programmes at sixteen schools across Cornwall to ensure that children can be accommodated in New Reception and other primary classes in time for the start of the academic year in September 2015. Work is currently under-way in most of these schools with additional works due to be carried out during the summer term and summer holiday period.

We are also preparing for future growth in a number of areas and are tendering for schemes to be carried out to provide further additional school places in Cornwall over the next two years.

These expansions to school are carried out by Government funding by means of Targeted Basic Needs (TBN) and Basic Needs (BN). The Council is in a fortunate position this time after the disappointment of getting less money for TBN, earmarked to get £18m, but only got £7.8m. However, the Council did get a better than expected settlement for BN.

Future Government funding post 2017 – whoever that will be post 7th May – will need to be enough to make sure we have adequate spaces for our children to attend school in years to come. If it is not, as to quote a well known film: “Houston, we have a problem.”

 

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