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

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ashton Gate and Southville considering bulge classes

South Bristol Schools Campaign met the Council on Thursday 6th December.

How many Reception classes need to be created?
The Council still estimate that two extra classes (on top of the two-form-entry at Compass Point) are needed for September 2013 in BS3.

What are the plans for September 2013?
No local school is able to accommodate a bulge class on its existing site. This means that any expansion has to take place on new sites. Negotiations are underway with Ashton Gate and Southville primary schools, both of which have been asked by the Council to take on a bulge class next year.

What the schools are saying

Southville newsletter:
Finally, there is still a major shortage of reception places in the area, and as we have successfully integrated an extra class into our school the Council have approached us and asked us to consider if we could expand further in the future. The current site would not be large enough, so they would be looking for an additional site nearby to build on, which would also be a part of Southville Primary School. Several options are being explored but it would be useful to hear your thoughts on this. Please e-mail me or speak to me in the playground. 

At Ashton Gate a bulge class in 2013 would be part of a plan to expand to 4 form of entry (FE) from Sept 2015 on a nearby site. No decision has yet been made as the previous agreement had been to expand to 3 FE. The school's newsletter explains the conditions that must be met and says that Governors will make a decision in January so that current and prospective parents can make informed choices. This decision would be an agreement on principle, with actual expansion only taking place if specific requirements are met.
See the full letter in the post below.

Will we know of all the existing provision by 15th January when applications close?
Possible sites have been identified and the Council is now negotiating to secure them. However no new classes will be confirmed by January 15th.

What does this mean for the applications process?
Extra provision will not be in place by January 15th.
It is hoped however that the extra classes will be created by the time the Council allocates Reception places.
The Council advises parents to chose the schools they prefer, and to make use of their three choices.

Letter from Ashton Gate 12th Dec


Ashton Gate Primary School
Creative thinkers for life
Ashton Gate Rd♦Ashton Gate♦Bristol BS3 1SZ Headteacher: Mrs S Willson Tel: 0117 9030236♦Fax: 0117 9030237
e-mail: ashtongatep@bristol.gov.uk

Re: Update on Ashton Gate’s response to Primary places crisis

Dear parents and carers,

The school’s governors continue to work closely with the Local Authority to find a solution to the shortage of Reception places in our area. As you know, plans for the St. Francis church site became problematic: in the end, the diocese and the LA were unable to agree terms, and as physical challenges of the site emerged, the school decided it was no longer viable to operate a suitable facility there.

The LA is now in the advanced stages of negotiation for the temporary use and long term ownership of some nearby property that would provide capacity for a new 2-form entry (2FE) primary school. Although we had previously agreed in principle to expand to 3FE, the demand for places is so great that the LA has asked us to expand to 4FE. If we agree to this, it could either be achieved by (a) our running two separate 2FE primary schools (one on our current site, the other in the new premises nearby), or (b) operating a 4FE school split over two sites (e.g., separate “junior” and “infants” schools). If we did not agree to expand, then another organization would be invited to run the new neighbouring 2FE primary school (probably as an Academy).

As with the decision on expansion to 3FE, this would be an agreement in principle: i.e., we would expand in practice only once specific requirements are met. If agreed, expansion would involve a 3FE Reception intake for September 2013 on the nearby temporary site, while the permanent facility is built, enabling us to expand to 4FE from September 2015. From that point on, we would either run two separate schools or a split site. If we chose the split site approach, Key Stage 2 would occupy the new premises while Nursery-through-Year 2 would be housed on our current site. This would mean that, ultimately, the number of children on our current site would reduce significantly (from 16 classes to 12 plus Nursery), freeing up much needed space. Older children in the new premises nearby would benefit from purpose-designed facilities and space. If we chose to run two parallel schools, the occupation on our current site would remain as it was before the “bulge” of 2011 (14 classes plus Nursery).

If we do decide to expand, governors will agree with the LA the conditions that must be met before we implemented expansion. These would include: (1) completion of an acceptable design for the temporary building to be used in 2013-2015 for Reception and Nursery; (2) signed contracts are in place for the use and purchase of the land and buildings; and (3) completion of a feasibility study that demonstrates that a permanent high quality facility can be produced to meet our requirements.

Time scales for contractual agreements and the feasibility study mean that it is unlikely we would be in a position to agree before April 2013 to implement expansion. As a result, it is very doubtful that we could re-open Nursery for September 2013, and would therefore continue to work with the Southville Nursery until we are able to restore our own high quality provision on-site.

Governors will consider these matters and make decisions by January in order that current and prospective parents can make informed choices. We will keep you up-to-date as the process unfolds, and look forward to your input and support.

Sincerely,

Lloyd Fletcher
Chair of Governors
chair.ashton.gate.p@bristol.gov.uk

Friday, 12 October 2012

September 2013: the Council's plans

In September the City of Bristol Council published its School Organisation Strategy in which it presented forecasts for pupil numbers and plans to meet the need for Reception places. South Bristol Schools Campaign were concerned by the shortfall of places for 2013, which stood at 83 based on census estimates, i.e. 3 Reception classes even taking into account the proposed continuation of the extra classes at Ashton Gate and Compass Point. We met Craig Bolt, Ian Bell and Michael Branaghan at the Council on 9th October to express our concerns and hear about plans for the area. Our key questions concerned the shortfall, and the plans in place for September 2013 and long term plans for new schools in the area.

What is the expected shortfall for 2013?
The Council explained that recent figures based on GP registration indicate that the number of children due to start Reception in September 2013 is much lower than the census figures had previously indicated. GP data shows a fall in children coming up to Reception age rather than the increase originally expected: compared to last year's figures there are 4 more children in Bedminster and 26 less in Southville.
In past years the number of Reception places offered in the area have closely matched GP registration figures. Based on these findings the Council are working on the assumption that the same number of Reception classes will be needed in September 2013 as in September 2012.

What are the plans for September 2013?
* Compass Point will have a Reception of 60 places (2 classes), taking on a bulge class for the third year
* negotiations are ongoing with Ashton Gate. The school cannot accommodate another bulge class on its existing site, so the ability to provide an extra Reception class in September 2013 and beyond depends on a suitable site being found elsewhere, with longer term plans to make this expansion sustainable. Various options are being considered for 2013, with a view to providing an early years site for three Reception classes and the Ashton Gate nursery which is being temporarily housed at the Southville Centre.
* Discussions are also underway with another local school to secure an extra class for September 2013.

When will we know what places are available for next year?
The Council's aim is to provide parents with comprehensive information approximately a month before the closing date of applications, in other words by mid-December. The Council are committed to keeping the community informed but are unable to disclose the exact sites under discussion at the present time due to ongoing commercial negotiations and governing bodies' need to consider proposals.

What are the longer term plans for the area?
Compass Point is undertaking work to turn it into a two form of entry school (formally it is still considered as one form though they will be taking a bulge class again this year).
Negotiations are ongoing to secure a site which could either become an annex of an existing school or a new school by 2014.
Myrtle Triangle, currently home to the Hayleigh residential care home which is due to close, is also to become a new school or an annex to an existing school.
Other developments just beyond the limits of our immediate area are also likely to have an impact on places in BS3. These include a new 2 form of entry school opening in 2014 on Marksbury road, and plans for a new school on the Harbourside.

The Council have invited us to meet with them again in early December to update us on the situation.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Reception open day tours

Local schools have put arrangements in place for prospective parents with a child starting Reception in September 2013.

Ashton Gate
parents are invited to phone the school and arrange to be shown round by the Head
0117 903 0236

Ashton Vale
contact the school to be shown around
0117 903 0383

Holy Cross (please book)
Monday 15th October at 9.30
Friday 9th November at 11 am.
Phone 0117 377 2199 to book. More dates will be set up.

Luckwell
Wednesday 17th October 9.30-11.30 and 1.30-3.30
No need to book

Parson Street
Friday 19th October 9.30-11.30am with a talk by the Headteacher at 10.15am
Friday 23rd November 9.30-11.30am with a talk by the Headteacher at 10.15am.
No need to book

South Street Compass Point
Thursday 8th November at 9.30 and 2pm
Wed 21st November at 9.30 and 2pm
Tuesday 4th Dec at 9.30 and 2pm.
No need to book.

Southville (please book, no children):
Tuesday 13th November, 9.30am
Monday 19th November, 9.30am
Monday 3rd December, 9.30am
To book, please phone 0117 377 2671 or email southville.p@bristol.gov.uk.
The school would like to know how many people are coming, request that you do not bring your child with you, and ask for a contact telephone number in case of a last minute cancellation.

Steiner Free School public consultation

Anyone interested in the setting up of a Steiner free school in Bristol is invited to register their interest via the website  
http://steineracademybristol.org.uk// . 

There will be a Public Consultation at Apple Day at Windmill Hill City Farm on Sunday  the 21st of October  
http://www.windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk/events/appleday.html

Thursday, 20 September 2012

2013 Reception admissions

Admissions for a Reception place in Sept 2013 have opened and parents have until 15th January to apply.

There is currently a shortfall of approximately two classes.

Southville Primary school's 2012 bulge class was a one-off and there is no space for another on the existing site.
Neither can Ashton Gate offer one on its existing site.
To date only the South Street/Compass Point bulge class is confirmed for 2013.

The Council are currently working on several proposals to create new places. For September 2013 there is a plan to expand Ashton Gate on the Imperial Tobacco site with modular provision for one extra class (this would be followed by the development of a permanent extra double intake).

However these new places are not yet confirmed, and do not cover all the need for the area.

Online applications can be changed until closing date to take into account further announcements of new places.

The South Bristol Schools Campaign will be holding a public meeting in October.
Watch this space!

New schools for the area?

BS3 currently has a shortfall of Reception places. Bulge classes have enabled children to remain within the area in 2011 and 2012, but figures keep rising, existing schools are very full, and new schools are now urgently needed.

The Council recognise this, and have just published their plans for the future.
It is important to note that these plans are subject to a variety of factors: approval of the City of Bristol cabinet; land acquisition; availability of funding. Also where new provision is linked to an existing school, the decision to expand is down to the Governors of the school.

2013
Ashton Gate to expand to 3 form entry, i.e. one extra class in modular provision.
No site has yet been secured, but negotiations are in process with Imperial Tobacco first for modular provision for one class (Sept 2013) to be followed by the development of permanent two form entry.
Even if plans are successful, this leaves a deficit for September 2013.

2014
Southville Primary school to consider becoming a two form entry school by acquiring Faith Space. This is subject to feasibility and to the approval of the governing board.

Ashton Gate to develop a permanent two form entry (on top of the existing two form entry)

2015
Hayleigh/Myrtle Triangle: develop a new 2 FE school on the former Hayleigh home (Myrtle Triangle site)

2016
If figures have not improved in Greater Bedminster the Council plan to seek to develop a new school on the Harbourside.

To view the whole School Organisation Strategy report:

Friday, 3 August 2012

Southville Centre / Ashton Gate nursery

For regular updates concerning the nursery class the Southville Centre is running for Ashton Gate primary school follow the link to:


This page will include the most up to date information and images of the works as they progress.
Places are still available for both sessions.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

What's happening over the summer


Dear Parents,

Over the summer, while schools close, the Council is continuing to actively pursue solutions to create the new Reception places the area needs.

The top prioriy is to secure a new site for Reception classes to start operating in September 2013 in order to avoid the need for further bulge classes.

Negotiations are also continuing concerning the St Francis site.

The aim is to be able to announce where places will be available by the opening of the admissions procedure in October.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Reception intake: Some facts & figures


The Council has published information on allocations for this year's Reception intake. The following information concerns the seven schools of the Greater Bedminster area.

* Siblings make up more than half the intake in some schools (18/30 at Luckwell and 31/60 at Parson Street). There are 40 siblings starting at Ashton Gate. This is a huge increase on last year's figures, respectively 13, 17 and 28.

* Oversubscribed schools
In the first round of allocations Ashton Gate, Luckwell, Parson Street and Holy Cross were all oversubscribed. Southville and Ashton Vale became so by the second round. Compass Point is the only school in the area not to have become oversubscribed.

* Furthest distance
In 2010 only Ashton Gate and Southville primary were oversubscribed and had to use distance to the school to determine who would be offered a place. By 2011 this was the case everywhere but at Compass Point. Apart from Southville because of the unusual circumstance of a last minute bulge class, the furthest distance has shrunk in all the oversubscribed schools.
After the second round of admissions, the figures were:
Ashton Gate: 455m (377m pre-bulge in 2011, 673m in 2010)
Ashton Vale: 405m (890m in 2011)
Luckwell: 240m (410m in 2011)
Parson Street: 699m (2.720km in 2011)
Southville Primary with its bulge class was not oversubscribed in the first round of allocations but became so in the second round. Furthest distance this year was 1.231km (187m in 2011, 380 in 2010)
Holy Cross offered places to 19 pupils on religious grounds, 6 siblings and 5 on distance (2 on distance in 2011)


* Relevant links
For the full picture, follow the links in the Admissions Information section on the right.
You can find allocation statements for oversubscribed schools for the first and second rounds.

Last year's figures and admissions criteria are published in ‘Your Child’s Primary Education in Bristol’ guide (pp. 54-57).

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Bristol Steiner Free School


A group has been set up to start a Steiner free school in Bristol.
It is now gauging interest and working on a draft application in anticipation of submission due in February 2013.
The group currently has 200 supporters, and is aiming to gather a further 400.

If you are interested in Bristol Steiner Free School please register your support at http://bristolsteinerfreeschool.org.uk/

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The challenge for 2013


Notes on the meeting at the Council with Craig Bolt, 6th June 2012

Thanks to the Council for the positive outcome of this year's Reception intake. In Southville everyone got one of their three wishes, and only 3 families in Bedminster didn't get one of their 3 wishes in the first round of allocations.

* Ashton Gate / St Francis

Concerning the immediate problem regarding Ashton Gate's nursery, there has been sufficient take-up of places at the Southville Centre for this option to go ahead.

Negotiations are progressing regarding the St Francis site. A number of draft conditions were problematic, but these have now been resolved. Even if the purchase and building are completed during the coming school year the nursery would stay at the Southville Centre for the whole year (the Reception classes may or may not move, depending on the school's decision).

* Sites for a new school

A number of sites are being worked on. All information concerning land purchase is confidential and nothing is final yet. At this stage, it is likely that any new school provision would not be available until 2014. Part of one site might be available earlier, enabling a new school to start operating from 2013. This however is the only new build possible for next year.

Several of the sites are just outside the Southville / Bedminster area, but would contribute to resolving the problem in our area.

The government assumption is that any new school now is an academy. Other arrangements such as expanding existing schools operating across split sites is possible, though depending on the size of the new school it might be harder to justify it as an annex.

* What next?

The Council is currently recasting the projections for next year, but can confirm numbers are still rising. 2012 saw the biggest single yearly rise (7%) compared to the usual 5%. And Southville / Bedminster remains one of the areas needing further places.

In the long term an extra four classes are needed (on top of two of the existing bulge classes). For 2013 two extra classes are needed on top of the double form entry at Compass Point.

The Council is going to hold a meeting with all the schools in the area in the coming weeks. The idea is that securing a site for 2014 should give local schools the confidence to put forward solutions for 2013, in the knowledge that this is a short-term situation. No school is currently being excluded from thinking about bulge classes for 2013.

The Council would hope to be able to announce where all the places are available by the time families start making their applications, ideally by the end of October, but cannot guarantee this as not all depends on them.

Funding is less of a problem than before, though there still isn't enough. In excess of £100m has been secured, but the School Organisation Strategy predicted a £150m need.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Please see below a copy of a letter from Lloyd Fletcher, Chair of Governors at Ashton Gate.

Further correspondence from BCC can also be found here


Dear Parents and Carers,

I’m writing with reference to today’s letter from the Local Authority to parents who applied for places at our Nursery for September 2012. You will have read that a regrettable situation beyond our control means that the St. Francis church site will not be available in time for the incoming Reception in September. Therefore, following discussions with the Local Authority, governors have taken the difficult decision to suspend our Nursery provision for 2012-13. This will enable us to take the three Reception classes in September without increasing the number of children on our current site. I want to explain to you how this will work in order to ensure we maintain excellent provision for both incoming Reception and the entire school.

The indoor and outdoor space vacated by Nursery, along with some adjoining rooms, will be reconfigured and adapted to suit a three-class Reception unit in that part of the “Junior” building. This, in some ways, will improve the facilities for Reception compared to the current set-up, in particular the outdoor play area. It will also ease some of the pressure on the “Infant” building. Because, effectively, we are “swapping” 30 full-time Nursery places for an additional Reception class, there will be no net increase in the number of children on the school site. Nursery staff will be re-deployed to support Reception from September.

We realise that closing Nursery, especially on such short notice, will cause distress to parents, in particular those with children already in the school, who therefore have not applied to other local providers. Unfortunately, it only became apparent in the last week that the annex would not be available for September; governors considered several alternatives in conjunction with the LA before deciding on the “least worst” option of suspending Nursery at the end of this school year. Parents requiring Nursery places in September should refer to the LA’s letter for information on what to do next.

Sincerely,


Lloyd Fletcher
Chair of Governors

Monday, 23 April 2012

A big thank you

Thanks to Ashton Gate, Compass Point and Southville Primary schools putting on additional classes this year, all the children in the BS3 area will be able to be placed in local primary schools for 2012. We are delighted that this year's campaign has been successful and want to thank everyone who has supported our efforts.

We will continue to send information on how to back plans for expansions at Ashton Gate and keep you informed of any other developments involving the 2012 intake.

The situation for next year remains uncertain as the shortfall is expected to increase and Southville Primary are only able to provide a bulge class for 2012. We will continue to work with the Council and local schools to provide short and long term solutions. So your support will still be required to ensure that our children can be schooled locally in future years.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Go-ahead for extra places at Southville Primary School

Bristol City Council have released a confirmation of the extra 30 places at Southville Primary for the September Reception class in-take.

Further details can be found here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Childcare Questionnaire for Parents of Under 5's in Southville, Bedminster and Ashton

The Southville Community Development Association is currently conducting research into the demand for childcare in the local area, with a view to using this to inform longer term plans to create more nursery spaces.

The questionaire can be accessed through the link below and is aimed at parents of children under 5, who live in the Bedminster, Ashton and Southville area and are not currently accessing the Southville Centre Nursery.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Notes on public meeting

South Bristol Schools Campaign meeting
Tobacco Factory, 26th Feb 2012

The meeting was attended by Clare Campion-Smith (Councillor), Ian Bell (Bristol City Council Pupil Place Planning Manager), Gareth Potter (Deputy Head and governor, Southville Primary), Sean Beynon (local councillor and governor of Southville primary school), Peter Sell (governor of Ashton Gate primary school), Tess Green.

Main outcomes:
There are currently 330 places (including the bulge classes at Ashton Gate and South Street primary schools) for about 346 applications. This means about 16 children cannot be allocated a place locally unless a solution is found.
The Council are working with Southville primary school to create a bulge class there for September. And they are hoping to be able to open a new school in Sept 2013, and looking at potential sites although no land has yet been acquired for this purpose.
The money is there, the issue in our area is finding sites.

The meeting began with a reminder of last year's crisis. The problem has trebled since, and the trend is set to continue until it peaks in 2015.

Update from Ashton Gate primary school (Pete Sell, governor)
Following last year's consultation of parents and of the local community, the school is now in a phase of transition, setting up the early years provision including the nursery and 3 reception classes on the Annex site (St Francis church). The September 11 bulge class took the intake from 60- 90 pupils, and the only way of maintaining this expansion was to develop a new site (at St Francis). The governing body has voted to take the school to 3 form entry for 2012 and 2013. The planning details of the new site will be posted on the campaign blog.
A meeting on site is taking place soon between the head of the school and the Council's transport and highway officers to work on the crossing on North Street

What can be done to help:
Support will be welcome for the planning application at Ashton Gate, (and potentially at Southville primary school in due course). There will be more information on the blog.

Update from Southville Primary (Sean Beynon, local councillor and governor)
Southville primary school indicated to the Council that they wished to help if further places were needed and a solution could be found. The council are currently drawing up some designs.The favoured option is to replace the sheds (to the right of the school) so as to create a bulge classroom. The school is also prepared to look at off site options. Before this goes ahead the school needs to consult parents and the local community.

South Street (Compass Point) primary school
No one representing South street primary school attended the meeting but Ian Bell confirmed that the school had agreed to a bulge class this year and was looking at a scheme for further expansion to carry on with a two-class intake.

Update from the Council by Clare Campion-Smith
Citywide there has been a big demographic change, but the funding allocation has doubled, from £9.5 million to £19.5m for basic need in 2012-13, on top of which Bristol received £12.3m emergency funding from central government and the Council is looking to borrow and extra £20m to fund new schools. The funding is not now the problem, the issue is finding suitable sites.
The Council acknowledges that admissions is not a very parent-friendly process, and have been working to improve information on the website, to improve communications and have more admissions officers.

Update from the Council by Ian Bell (Pupil Place Planning Manager)
330 Reception places currently exist (including the bulge classes at Ashton Gate and South Street) and applications stand at about 346. Offers will go out on 20th April. Last year 82% of families got their first preference and 94% got at least one of their preferences. City-wide applications have gone from 4,000 four years ago to over 5,000 this year.
Although the shortfall is currently expected to be less than a whole class, the Council is working towards a solution with Southville primary, and looking at other possibilities for a third bulge class for the coming September.
The Council are aiming to open a new school by 2013.
The Council cannot talk in any detail about sites being explored as most would be bought on the open market. They have looked at about 20 sites but most are too small or unfit for purpose. Four or five sites are still being considered, some potentially available for 2013.
Although timing would now be very tight for a new build to be ready by 2013, a school could start running within less than a year by using portacabins while construction took place. It would take approximately 18  months to build a new school from scratch.
The Council's preferred route would be to open annex provision attached to a local primary school as the alternative is an Academy which requires inviting in sponsors and takes time to set up.

Notes from Question and answer session.

-It is projected that numbers will increase dramatically in 2013 and whilst we are nearing a possible solution for 2012 we need more spaces for 2013.

-The council is committed to finding another class for 2012 and will look at other possibilities in the area if an additional class Southville Primary does not look feasible.
There have been ongoing conversations with all the schools in the area.

-Holy Cross are willing to consider expanding, but there currently isn't a shortfall of places for catholic children and as a faith school they require permission from the Diocese to make any changes.

-Bristol has 19.5 mil for basic need and an additional 5.3 mil for modernisation of buildings. 

-If there were a gap in provision one year, followed by a new school, the Council would normally not open a Year 1 class for those children to come back into the area as they avoid moving children around. The new school would start with Reception only and build up year on yea. But if one child is out of the area, there is nothing to stop parents seeking a local place for siblings.

-Compulsory purchase is an option that has not been excluded for acquiring land, but it is a lengthy process and requires the absence of any alternative. The Council will not commit to a deadline for starting this process;  there are some fairly imminent decisions, some of which would still allow a new school to start operating in 2013. However, we would need to see significant progress by the end of 2012.

-It might be possible for part of Ashton Gate football ground to be made into a school but it could take too much time and other sites would hopefully become available sooner. Supermarket land is more expensive, but there have been talks at the Memorial Ground, for a mixed development including a supermarket and a school. 

-It is hard for parents to win an appeal at reception level. There is nothing in the admissions process that would leave the council open to a legal challenge

-Any new school would have to be an academy which is why an annex is preferable. 

-In terms of any detrimental affects to standards created by bulge classes, KS1 and KS2 results and OFSTED results aren't affected by larger schools, and there are a number of good models where this works. Ashley Down Primary is 4 form entry.
Regarding standards and quality of life for the children, there was a discussion around the meaning of quality of life for children. On the one hand this includes space in the school and on the playground and the quality of relations, but this must be balanced against the disruption for individual children, families and the wider community of having children sent outside their community.

-If a child had to be sent out of the area to school, their sibling could still apply for a school locally. 

-Once initial offers have been made, people can change their preferences and go on the waiting list for the school(s) of their choice. The schools then use the same admissions criteria for extra places as in the first round of offers.

-Secondary schools are usually on much bigger sites so that expansion is less of a problem. Pupils also tend to travel more at that level, and most schools are not directly run by the Council.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

NOTES FROM MEETING WITH CRAIG BOLT




A member of The South Bristol Schools Campaign was invited by Sean Beynon to a meeting with Craig Bolt on 23rd Feb. the following is a summary of some of the main points raised.

There is still a shortfall in BS3 but as there have not been many late applicants, the number is still lower than first predicted. 

It will not be possible to say for definite until the allocation process is completed, but it appears less likely that there will be the 'black holes' experienced last year .

The preferred option for both the Council and Southville Primary School is to create extra space on the school site. Other options have not been completely ruled out, but the replacement of existing sheds on the school site is being explored. There are, however, planning and other considerations which will need to be taken into account.

It is the Council's plan to secure a new site and provide extra primary places for September 2013. 5 sites are being actively pursued which would assist the Bedminster and Southville area. Having this number of sites is encouraging and different to other parts of the City.

The next order of events will be as follows:

The council will confirm allocations.
They will then work out the exact shortfall and need for additional places.
Then they will talk again to local schools who have offered to put on additional classes.
Once these extra classes are confirmed, they will send out offers.
This means that by the time offers are made, the additional places will already be agreed. 
Once the council have made an offer of a place, they are legally bound by it. Therefore, the offers are not conditional on any building works being completed.
If, as a result of extra spaces, people want to change their preferences after they have received an offer, they can opt to go on a waiting list for the school they want. 

Ian Bell and Claire Campion Smith will be present at the public meeting on 26th Feb and should be able to answer more questions on these and other related matters.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Reasons to attend the Public Meeting on the 26th Feb.

Is your child’s primary school place secure?

Update on shortage of BS3 primary school places for September 2012 and beyond

Two 'bulge' classes have been created at Ashton Gate and South Street primary schools, but a shortfall of reception places is still anticipated for BS3 in September – at the last public meeting in September 2011 it was estimated that 98 extra places were needed in Greater Bedminster, yet two bulge classes only accounts for 60 children.

Join with local parents, schools representatives and Bristol City Council for an update on the current situation and to discover what still needs to be done to ensure that enough primary school places are provided for local children in September 2012 and beyond.

The story so far

Following the school places crisis in 2011, and given the anticipated increase in demand for reception places in 2012, two 'bulge' classes have been created at Ashton Gate Primary and South Street (Compass Point). But these 60 extra places are not expected cover the real need for school places in BS3.

So far it is unclear what will happen to children who are not allocated a reception place at either of their three preferred schools, or at a local alternative.

It is anticipated that there is still a need for an another ‘bulge’ class in the area.

What happens next?

Parents are working with the local authorities to provide a short -term solution for the provision of a third bulge class for September 2012.

It is also imperative that longer-term solutions are provided to ensure that there is a primary place for every child in the future, without putting local schools under further pressure or compromising the quality of primary education in the area.

To avoid a repeated crisis in primary school places in BS3, the area ultimately needs a new school.

Until that is provided, however, parents, schools and the local authority need to work together to find creative solutions to secure a place within walking distance for every local child in September 2012.

What can I do?

Come to the public meeting on Sunday 26th February at 8pm in the Tobacco Factory Theatre.

Led by local parents, its aims are to provide an update about the current situation, determine what is happening for 2012 and future years, and to raise support for the campaign for school places in BS3.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Public meeting at 8pm on Sunday 26 Feb at the Tobacco Factory Theatre



There is still a shortage of primary school places in BS3!
South Bristol Schools Campaign have invited members of the council and representatives from local schools to attend and give an update on the BS3 primary school situation for 2012 and future years. If you are affected by this issue please come along to hear what is happening, ask questions and provide support.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Southville Primary are looking at ways to find extra primary school places for 2012.



As most of you will know, there is still a shortfall of primary school places in the Bedminster and Southville area. Ashton Gate and South Street have added extra classes for 2012 and beyond but another class is needed in order to ensure that our local children can attend a local school. Southville Primary School are looking at ways in which they might be able to help.

On 31st Jan, one of our campaign group was invited to Southville Primary school to meet with the Head Teacher, Sandie Smith, the Deputy Head, Gareth Potter and Local Councilor, Sean Beynon who is also a Governor at the school, to discuss the shortfall of primary school places in BS3.

They were having a Governor's meeting on the 1st Feb and a possible extra class was on the agenda for discussion.

Ian Bell, Bristol City Council Pupil Place Planning Manager, has been to see the school to see what could be done with their limited space. Initially, they thought that perhaps they could turn the nursery into another reception class. However, the nursery is now full and is providing another valuable service to the community.

There is no space for a mobile classroom on site but they have suggested to the council that replacing two sheds which are on site with a 2 storey building could provide an extra classroom and the storage space that they would be losing from getting rid of the sheds. The whole school is grade 2 listed and in order to change any of the buildings, they first have to find out whether they will get the appropriate permissions to do so. The school are waiting to find out whether this will be possible from the council.

The council are also looking at a possible site close to the school to have as an annex. We await a council decision on this.

The Head teacher is eager to help whilst cautious that any changes to the school should not detrimentally affect the current students and teachers.

We will keep you informed of any developments on this blog.