South Bristol Schools Crisis

Offers for primary school places have been made for September 2014 and we are delighted that the local schools were able to accommodate all children living in the area. Many families got their first choice. Thank you to the Council and schools for their hard work.

The area now has sufficient reception places for all the children in the area. There has been strong support from the Council, with the acquisition of land for Ashton Gate and Southville to expand, and from the local schools which have expanded or taken on "bulge" classes when needed. There are also plans to create a new school on the caravan site near Spike Island, which should increase choice for BS3 families and help with the lack of places in the Hotwells and Clifton Wood areas.

We continue to monitor these developments and keep the community informed.


South Bristol Schools Campaign is a community-led group initially formed when there was a lack of local school places in BS3. It seems that long term solutions are now in place, so our role will now be limited to liaising with schools and the Council to ensure the delivery of promised new places and new sites, and to share information with the local community.


For the latest information, join the mailing list - this will allow the campaign group to quickly and easily inform and keep track of all those concerned.

You can also email the campaign group: southbristolsc@gmail.com

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Briefing from Ashton Gate Primary School

14/09/2011 Ashton Gate Primary School – South Bristol Schools Campaign Briefing

Details of why and how the September 2011 intake was increased to a 3 form entry and position for 2012.

- As has been discussed, a large number of children in BS3 were not allocated a local school when notified in May 2011.

- While 60 children were admitted to Ashton Gate’s two Reception classes for September 2011, 48 applicants were unsuccessful, and families were allocated places at more distant schools outside their local area (the effective catchment area had a radius of less than 400m from the school).

- The Council contacted the Head teacher (Sue Wilson) and the Chair of Governors (Lloyd Fletcher) the week beginning 9th May 2011 to discuss the potential for a bulge class in 2011.

- A full Governing Body meeting was held on 24th May 2011. Michael Branaghan and Ian Bell attended to represent the council and discuss the need for a ‘bulge’ class and what provisions would be in place.

- There was no time to undertake a consultation with current parents as the council needed to make admission decisions in early June.

- The Governing Body challenged the Council’s approach, questioned the short, medium and long term strategy and how Ashton Gate fitted into that strategy.

- The Governing Body needed to ensure that the decision would not have an unmitigated negative impact on the new prospective pupils and the current pupils.

- The Governing Body needed to ensure that the finances were in place to support this additional class in September 2011 and throughout their time within the school.

- The Council provided assurances that the small capital expenditure needed to support the increased pupil numbers would be provided.

- The Council also confirmed that the first year funding would be provided in full for the additional class teacher. Beyond this, the finances would be based on the funding formula calculator in operation at that time.

- The Council could not commit to the medium term, i.e. 2012/2013 and long term strategy due to a lack of funding visibility, however conceded it was a problem as noted in the Schools Organisational Strategy Document.

- Following appropriate consideration and in the time allowed, the Full Governing Body voted to support the addition of a further form entry (30 pupils) for a single year in 2011.

- The school responded promptly and recruited staff and commenced the work to start physical works to the school as quickly as was feasible.

- The additional class has now commenced at the school and the feedback from staff, pupils and parents is principally positive.

- A bulge class in September 2012 cannot be accommodated on the current Ashton Gate site.

- This is due to the lack of external space that the additional pupils would generate. It is also due to a lack of internal infrastructure to support an additional class. The school and Council are working together to discuss options, however this is constrained by finances.

- At present there will be 34 siblings attending Ashton Gate in Reception 2012, therefore 57% of the places will be taken by siblings.

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