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, 19 December 2013

Ashton Gate nursery to remain at Southville Centre next year

Received today from Ashton Gate's Chair of Governors

Latest news on the school expansion / nursery in 2014

Dear Parents and Carers


I have been Chair of Governors for two terms now and am enjoying getting into the role. I want to thank Lloyd Fletcher for all the hard work that he has done over last few years. Lloyd is going to stay on as an Associate Governor until the end of the school year. Thanks are also due to Kitty Fleming (Parent Governor) and Alan Fear (Staff Governor) for their contribution. We are in the process of an election for two new Parent Governors, whom I look forward to meeting in January. If you would like to find out more about what the governors do for the school, please feel free to contact me.


We continue to work with Bristol City Council to deliver the expansion to the school. This expansion will give more local children the chance to go to a nearby school. The new Reception block is working well and I have received positive messages from both staff and parents. We are looking at the plans for the new building which should soon be submitted to the Council’s planning committee.

In parallel with the new Reception block we came to an arrangement with the Southville Centre regarding the Nursery. The governors met on Tuesday when we discussed the arrangements for the Nursery for 2014‐15. It was clear that putting a Nursery class into the existing Reception block would have a significant effect on the quality of the teaching that is being delivered. There would also have been a financial impact on the money that we can spend in the existing school. Consequently, the governors agreed not to re‐open the Nursery in 2014. I am happy to announce that we will be maintaining our Nursery agreement with the Southville Centre for September 2014. We will continue to look at re‐opening the Nursery in September 2015 as part of the wider expansion project. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and we will see you all in the New Year.

David Sawyers
Chair of Governors
david.sawyers@blueyonder.co.uk

Monday, 2 December 2013

Update: Southville Primary School 2014 Intake

Below is the most recent letter from Southville Primary School. For the full (easier to read) version, click on the link below. 










Thursday, 21 November 2013

Increased Intake at Southville Primary School for September 2014

Below is a letter issued by Sandie Smith (Southville Primary School Headteacher) on the 18th November 2013 regarding proposals for the expansion of the School for the September 2014 and 2015 intakes.

Dear Parents and Carers,

This letter is to update you on the current position on proposals for the expansion of Southville Primary School.

Governors have spent many hours examining the pros and cons and debating whether or not expansion is the right path to take; last week the Full Governing Body (FGB) decided to agree to the school increasing to three form entry across two sites in September 2015 subject to certain conditions.

Following the feasibility study the school were told that our preferred option would not be possible (younger children on the Myrtle site). However, a horizontal split across the school is still in our opinion the best for the children’s education, leadership and management and retaining the sense of community and school ethos, so it has been decided to reverse the plan and house years 3 to 6 on the new site. This is of course subject to further investigation by the experts.

Bristol City Council have also recently asked the school to consider using the Princess Elizabeth building on the Hayleigh site to accommodate two additional reception classes from September 2014 - 2015. School representatives visited the site and did not feel this was appropriate for the children in reception or any other year group, so we have looked again to see if we can help in some other way. 

As a result of input by a consultant, senior leadership consideration and further in depth discussions, Governors have agreed to allow an intake of 3 reception classes in 2014 on the Merrywood site. The proposal is to: 

  • Resite or close our nursery class (somewhere other than the Myrtle site) use the existing nursery space as a reception class and for additional reception toilets.
  • Return the current reception provision to the original 2 classrooms by separating
  • with sliding doors
  • Increase the learning space in the three classrooms by providing covered areas outside – possibly having a yurt, and canopies/shelters outside the classrooms. We are also looking at the possibility of classroom lofts to increase space inside and further developing the Foundation Stage outside area – advice is being sought on this.


We are aware that parents and carers are anxious about the proposed changes and we understand the conflicting views that a large community is bound to have. However a large number of stakeholders have been very encouraging, believing as we do that the school must do its best to serve the local community if children living in Southville are to be educated near their homes.

We are aware of rumours circulating on this subject but this is the most up to date information; we will keep you informed when there are any further developments.

Yours sincerely,

Sandie Smith

Headteacher

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The outlook for September 2014

Once again, all children in the area were able to go to a local school in September 2013, and we hope next year's applicants will be just as successful.

Applications for Reception are now open, and due by 15th January 2014.
The number of places that currently appear on the Council website for Bristol South in Sept 2014 are:
Ashton Gate: 90
Ashton Vale: 30
Holy Cross: 30
Luckwell: 30
Parson Street: 60
South Street / Compass Point: 60
Southville: 30

This is one class down on 2013/14 as the Luckwell bulge class was a one-off.

Forecast figures for Sept 2014 are up 37 on this year.
The Council are confident that they can make provisions for the shortfall for 2014:
- there are plans for the BS3 area that have yet to be confirmed.
On the periphery:
- a new primary school is due to open on Marksbury road as an academy in Sept 2014 with two forms of entry.
- Cathedral primary school is increasing its intake from 1 to 2 forms of entry. Please note that Cathedral does not give priority to children based on distance from the school.

The Council hope to be able to make these new places public before admissions close.

We will continue to liaise with the Council so as to update the community on how plans are progressing.

Useful links to the admissions website and to the guidebook for parents appear in the post below and in the right hand column. These include detailed information on the criteria used by schools when they are oversubscribed, furthest distance admitted last year and numbers of places.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Admissions Information 2014-2015

Bristol City Council have sent out primary school information packs for those with children registered in the city and born between 1st September 2009 and 31st August 2010.

Applications can be made any time from the 12th September 2013 to the 15th January 2014. Three options can be selected in order of preference, and once submitted can be changed at any time before the Midnight 15th January deadline.

For further information click on the following links:

Bristol City Council Primary Admissions Page

Online Application Form (you will be required to register first)

Information Leaflet (hopefully you will have received one of these through the post)

Furthest Distance Table (please note that this will include the bulge classes from 2013-2014 skewing the data)

Bristol City Council "My Neighbourhood" webpage (to assist in finding the most local schools to you

(The useful link section of the blog has been updated to include the above)


School Admissions contacts:
Email - school.admissions@bristol.gov.uk
Tel - 0117 903 7694
Fax - 0117 903 7710
PO Box 57, Bristol, BS99 7EB


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Summer update

As schools break up for the summer here are some notes on a meeting with the Council in July 2013

2013
- 86.5% of families in Southville were granted their first choice (87% in Bedminster, 86% citywide)
- the only local school with places still available is Luckwell, where the bulge class was announced after applications closed
- Ashton Gate and Luckwell are on track to start in September with their bulge Reception classes (3 classes in total at AG, 2 at Luckwell)
- there have been two recent consultation meetings to discuss design ideas and options for the renovation of the Upton Road (Imperial Tobacco building) and Ashton Gate sites.


2014
- the Council will have the revised figures for the 2014 Reception numbers in September, so it is not yet known how many classes will be needed. However the figures seem to be rising, so it is likely that at least one extra class will be needed in 2014 compared to 2013
- Compass Point is now a two-form-entry school, but Luckwell will return to a Reception intake of 30 children
- Ashton Gate expect to decide in December this year whether sufficient progress has been made on the new Imperial Tobacco site to offer 3 Reception classes again in September 2014, and whether to agree to the LA's request to offer 4 Reception classes in 2014 (a year earlier than originally planned)
- a decision will also be made this December as to whether the nursery returns to Ashton Gate for 2014. It would be accommodated on the temporary Imperial Tobacco carpark site, which was built for 3 Reception classes plus nursery. If 4 Reception classes are to be admitted in 2014, the nursery would not re-open then
- a new academy will be opening on Marksbury road in 2014, with two forms of entry. The sponsor should be announced before applications close. Although this school is peripheral to the BS3 area it is likely to have a ripple effect on places at some local schools

2015
- Ashton Gate new Imperial Tobacco site due to open, enabling the school to expand to 4 form entry
- Southville Primary School are continuing to plan with the Council for school expansion to 3FE in 2015, using the Myrtle Triangle site. Members of the community have been given the opportunity to attend two public consultations to view the architect's proposed plans and Governors are currently awaiting a report on a feasibility study, which has been completed on both sites. We anticipate an announcement being made in the utumn term, when all processes and procedures have been completed.
- other sites on the periphery of BS3 are being considered for new schools

Beyond 2015
- Primary: the projected figures continue to rise, and it is not yet known whether new places will be needed in BS3
- Secondary: there is still surplus capacity in secondary schools citywide, but there are currently some 4,000 children in Y7, whereas over 5,000 are entering primary school. The Council expect the secondary places issue to emerge in 2017, and by 2019/2020 new schools will be needed.They have begun to look at land to acquire for this purpose.

Monday, 15 July 2013

public consultation 2 for Imperial Tobacco site

The second public consultation concerning the proposed expansion of Ashton Gate Primary School onto the Old Imperial Tobacco Building is to be held on 18th July.
Two sessions will run, from 3.30-4.30pm, and from 6-7pm at Ashton Gate school.
Comments will be recorded and incorporated into the plans where possible.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

public consultation on Ashton Gate Imperial Tobacco site

A public consultation is being organised by the contractor designing plans for the new school at the Old Imperial Tobacco building. It will be held on July 4th at Ashton Gate primary school at 3.30-4.30pm and 6-7pm.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Public Consultation Nr 1 to be held on 04th July 2013

As you may be aware, Skanska are working in partnership with the Local Education Partnership (LEP) and Bristol City Council to prepare design options which support the expansion of Ashton Gate Primary School  and a new school building at the Old Imperial Tobacco building on Upton Road from 2 form entry and 60 pupils per year to 4 form entry and 120 pupils per year divided between both sites.  This supports a Bristol City Council initiative to increase facilities which may be provided at the above site.

We intend to work closely with the School to produce designs which meet their needs. To enable the local community and all parties who may be affected by the proposed development to comment and understand the design at this early stage we have arranged for community involvement meetings to be held on Thursday 4th  July 2013.

To ensure this is a fully inclusive invitation we have arranged for two sessions;
Community Involvement Meeting Nr 1 – 3.30 to 4:30pm
Community Involvement Meeting Nr 2 – 6:00 to 7.00pm

Venue in the Main Hall  Ashton Gate School, Ashton Gate Primary school

We intend to record and incorporate wherever possible the comments generated at the event, this will help support any future planning applications.

We look forward to meeting you on the 4th July.

Yours faithfully,

Rupert Hurst - Operations Manager - Skanska

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

2014 and beyond

We are delighted that the local schools have been able to accommodate all children living in the area who are starting school in September.
The long term plans for the area should enable all local children to go to school within the community. While this is very welcome news, these solutions will not be in place before 2015.
This means that there will be one if not two fewer Reception classes in September 2014: the Luckwell bulge class is for one year only, and Ashton Gate may need to reduce to two instead of three classes (see details below).

Ashton Gate

2013: Three reception classes on half of the Imperial Tobacco car park site on Upton Road.
The nursery remains at the Southville Centre.

2014: The school will decide whether to bring the nursery onto the Upton Road site or to leave it at the Southville Centre.
The school may need to reduce its intake to two Reception classes in September 2014 if the new site is unlikely to be ready by 2015. Otherwise there would not be enough room to accommodate the 2014 Reception children on the Ashton Gate site once they moved up to Year 1 one year later.

2015: Four-form entry, with nursery, Reception-Year 2 on the existing site, Year 3 to Year 6 on the new Upton Road site

Compass Point / South Street
2013 onwards: the school is now a two-form entry school. Building work is being undertaken to provide space for the new classes and for the children's services.

Luckwell
2013: bulge class taking the school to two form-entry for one year only (the children in the bulge class will of course remain in the school throughout their primary years)
2014: back to one form of entry as there is no space on the site of another class

Southville Primary
2013: one Reception class
2014: one Reception class
2015: expansion (subject to conditions) to include the Myrtle Triangle site.
Southville Primary school has been considering two options for expansion:

1) A single form entry school on the (existing) Stackpool Road site and two form entry on the Myrtle Triangle (from 2015), creating two vertically grouped schools (Reception to Year 6) or
2) Years 4,5,6 on the Stackpool Road site and Nursery to year 3 on the Myrtle Triangle site.

Governors considered this very carefully, taking into account strongly expressed views about the advantages and disadvantages of both options. Governors voted by a majority of 11 to 1 for the second option.
The local authority are exploring how to make access as safe as possible between the two sites.

The other schools in the area are not currently affected by any changes to their intake.

If your child is starting school in 2014 or later and you would like to get involved with the campaign group, email us at southbristolsc@gmail.com

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

2013 allocations: crunching the figures

 The Council has published this year's figures for the first round of allocations at oversubscribed schools.

Ashton Gate (90 places)         
2013       35 siblings and  0.879 km (plus 2 children in care)
2012       40 siblings and 0.455 km
2011       0.377 km (pre-bulge)
2010       0.673 km

Ashton Vale (30 places)
2013       15 siblings and 1.040 km  (plus 1 special needs)
2012       Not oversubscribed in first round but places taken up in second round and meterage 0.405
2011       0.890 km

Luckwell (60 with bulge)
2013       Not oversubscribed in 1st round
2012       18 siblings and 0.240 km   
2011       0.410 km

Parson Street (60 places)
2013       25 siblings and 0.621 km (plus 1 special needs and 1 care)
2012       31 siblings and 0.699 km
2011       2.720 km

Southville (30 places)
2013       17 siblings and 0.223 km
2012       1.231 (post bulge)
2011       0.187 km
2010       0.380 km

Compass Point and Luckwell were not oversubscribed this year in the first round of allocations.

Holy Cross was not oversubscribed in the first round, 27 offers were made but there are late applicants on the waiting list for the second round

The full information is on the Council website:

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Ashton Gate and Imperial Tobacco

Received today from Ashton Gate Primary School

18th April 2013
Re: Update on Ashton Gate’s expansion

Dear parents and carers,
I’m pleased to tell you that the Local Authority (LA) has now completed the purchase of property that can be used for the expansion of Ashton Gate. The acquisition of the Imperial Tobacco office building and car park will enable:
(1) A temporary annex installed on the car park to provide three forms of Reception entry (3FE) from
September 2013 (as reported to you in my letter of 22nd March).
(2) A new permanent school facility on Upton Road, through refurbishment of the Imperial office building and car park; this would enable a potential 4FE Reception entry from September 2015.
If everything proceeds according to the current plan, then the school would expand to 4FE, operating over a split site, as outlined in my letter to you in December. Specifically, from September 2015, the school would be structured as follows:

On the current Ashton Gate Road site: Early Years/Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1 (i.e., Nursery, Reception, Year 1, and Year 2),. The number of children on these premises will gradually expand to 4 classes in of the three year groups, eventually giving us 12 classes on the site (compared to 14 for a 2FE Primary school). (Governors have yet to decide if or when Nursery will be re-established after 2013, and we will keep you updated on this.)

At the new premises on Upton Road: Key Stage 2; by this time Years 3 and 4 will have 3 classes each. As the September 2015 intake of 4FE moves up through the school, the number of children at this site would expand to 4 classes in each of the four year groups: i.e., eventually, 16 classes in total, compared to 14 for a 2FE primary school. The Imperial building offers substantial space, and opportunities to create an excellent new teaching and learning environment. Although located a couple of blocks away, EYFS and KS1 will, of course, also benefit from the use of the new facilities.

Although the school would operate with an EYFS annex from next September, and as a split site from 2015, we will ensure close liaison between the two sites for both children and staff: we are committed to operating as one unified Primary school.

As I’ve mentioned before, to minimize the risk of the school committing to additional classes before new premises are actually ready, we will keep the temporary and permanent expansion projects under review. We will agree to admit additional classes only as availability of the facilities becomes certain beyond a reasonable doubt.

We will shortly provide you with a Frequently Asked Questions document that will go into more detail on these various issues, followed by meetings with parents to give you the chance to ask further questions and share your thoughts. In the meantime, please do contact me if you have any queries.
Sincerely,
Lloyd Fletcher

To read the FAQs: Ashton Gate expansion FAQs

Friday, 22 March 2013

Southville primary to expand from 2015

The following resolution was agreed by a unanimous vote at the Full Governing Body of Southville Primary School at their meeting on 20th March 2013:

The Governors of Southville Primary School agree in principle to proceed to the feasibility stage of expansion of Southville Primary School to a three-form entry school across two sites. The composition of the classroom split across the two sites is yet to be decided at a future governing body meeting.

As part of this decision, governors seek a written commitment from the local authority that:
1. A safe route is created between the two sites that is acceptable to the school. This should include the exploration of a cut-through link at the Windsor house site, the creation of a safe crossing on North Street, and the prohibition of loading and unloading at the Tesco supermarket on North Street at the start and finish of the school day.
2. There will be sufficient financial support for cover for Senior Leadership and administrative staff, according to a costed plan, to enable a smooth transition for school expansion and to ensure that there is no detrimental effect on current provision.
3. Current commitments by Bristol City Council to improve the playground on the Stackpool Road site are honoured.

2013 update: Ashton Gate bulge class

The Council has issued an update on Reception places for 2013 including its intention for a bulge class at Ashton Gate primary school (an intake of 90 instead of 60). These extra places will be included in the allocations to be made on April 19th. 
It is worth clarifying however that the bulge class is conditional on the buildings actually being available in time for September.
Ashton Gate head of governors writes: "We will agree to admit additional classes only as availability of the facilities becomes certain beyond a reasonable doubt".



Received today from the Council

Primary School Places in Greater Bedminster
September 2013

There will be 360 Reception places available at schools within the Greater Bedminster Neighbourhood Partnership Area for September 2013. Just less than 350 on-time applications were received. There are therefore enough places to ensure every child living within the area can be offered a place at a local school.

Ashton Gate Primary
30 additional places (meaning a total of 90) will be provided using a temporary building to be located on the car park of the Imperial Tobacco offices on Upton Road. A suitably sized area of the car park will be completely separated to provide space for the necessary classrooms and ancillary spaces and to provide adequate outside space for 90 Reception age children. The necessary planning application was submitted on 15th March and an order has been placed with Portakabin for the building. The application is due to appear on the planning application page of the City Council website on Friday 22nd March.

Compass Point: South Street Primary School
Compass Point will again offer 60 places. The programme of refurbishment and extension to enable the school to grow to a full two form entry school is progressing on budget and on schedule.

Luckwell Primary School
A detailed programme of works to adapt the library space into a classroom is being agreed with the school. This will enable the school to admit an additional 30 pupils in September 2013, giving a total of 60 Reception places.

Southville Primary School
The school is currently consulting parents on plans to expand using new facilities to be provided by September 2015 on the site of the former Hayleigh Elderly Persons Home.

Summary of Places Available for September
The total number of Reception places to be allocated for September 2013 at each of the schools in the area is as follows:

Ashton Gate Primary 90
Ashton Vale Primary 30
Compass Point: South Street Primary 60
Holy Cross Catholic Primary 30
Luckwell Primary 60
Parson Street Primary 60
Southville Primary 30




Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Consultation on Southville primary expansion

Southville primary school is inviting prospective parents and the community to take part in a consultation. Letter from the Head:
 
Southville Primary School
Consultation about expansion from one form of entry to three forms of entry in 2015

Bristol City Council and Southville Primary Governors have held discussions about the possibility of increasing the size of the school to provide three forms of entry for Reception age children in September 2015 to help to address the need for places in the area.

Their proposal is that Southville Primary School takes over a new building as additional accomodation on the Myrtle Triangle, where Hayleigh House currently stands. This means that the school would operate across two sites.

Several options for organising two sites were considered and it was decided that the most manageable option would be to have children from Nursery to Year 3 on the new purpose built site and Years 4 to 6 on the current site. Our lovely old building has undergone some refurbishment in the last few years and there are plans to improve the outside area as soon as planning permission is granted, however this site is too small to add any more classrooms.

Information made available to parents and carers at a meeting on 6th March 2013 can be found on the school blog:
There will be a further informal meeting at the school for anyone interested in finding out more or in asking questions about expansion on Monday 18th March between 7 – 8.30 pm.

The Governors are aware of their responsibilities to the school in considering implementing change, and to the local community in adding to the current provision to provide additional places for local children. However they would like to hear the views, supportive or otherwise, of as many people as possible before making a decision on 20th March.

If you can help us in our decision making process by making a comment please e-mail: head.southville.p@bristol.gov.uk or contact the Headteacher at Southville Primary School, Merrywood Road, Bristol BS3 1EB.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Bulge news

Southville Primary announced today that it would not be able take a bulge class in September 2013 as it was not possible to secure the extra space nearby that would have been necessary. So Southville will only have one Reception class in September. However it is continuing to consider long term expansion to three-form entry by taking on the Myrtle Triangle site as an annex from 2015.

Meanwhile, Luckwell primary school has agreed to take a bulge Reception class this coming September. This will be accommodated on site. The agreement was made on the proviso that it shouldn't compromise the quality of education that the school offers, nor should the building work cause any more disruption than is absolutely necessary. The agreement is for one year only and there is no plan to expand to two-form entry.

This means that two bulge classes (Compass Point and Luckwell) have now been secured for September out of the three that the area needs. The third should be announced soon.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Compass Point expansion: public consultation

Compass Point / South Street primary school will hold a Public Consultation meeting on Monday 4th March from 3-4pm and 6-7pm.
Drawings for plans to enable the school to expand will be on show and the architects will be available to discuss them.
These are open meetings.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Where will our children go in September?

The Campaign met with the Council on Tuesday 19th Feb. The Council are still not able to confirm exactly where the required extra classes will be accommodated (they will not be in Aldi car park, however, as is the current rumour!!) but they were able to tell us the following:

How many extra places are needed for BS3?
Now that applications are in, the Council has looked at the overall figures. The picture for BS3 is similar to last year's: the number of people living in the area who applied for a place at a local school is roughly the same as last year's. As we write, Compass Point is the only school that has confirmed that it can continue to take on an extra class. This means that two extra classes are still needed.
The Council hopes that within days it will be able to confirm the purchase of a site which will enable Ashton Gate to take on a bulge class for two more years.
They are also in talks with another local school about taking a bulge class for September 2013 only. A decision is expected by the end of the month.

If both these classes go ahead the Council are confident that all children living in BS3 who applied for a place in the area should be offered a place at a local school, though it may not be one of their three choices.

How much longer will we need bulge classes?
The site of the Hayleigh care home is to become a two form of entry school by 2015, and the Council's favoured option is for this to be run as an annex of an existing local school.
The other site currently being acquired will also be a two form of entry school by 2015.

There are also other plans outside BS3 but close enough to have an impact on the area. These include two new schools, both of which would have two forms of entry. One (most likely an academy) is on Marksbury Road, on the former college site, and is due to open in 2015. The other, in Wapping Wharf, would add 45 places locally, possibly from 2015. There are also ongoing discussions with another school just outside BS3 which may expand in the future if need be.

However, although the future looks substantially healthier in terms of school places, there will still be a need to find temporary solutions for 2014.

Public meeting
In the past two years the South Bristol Campaign Group worked with local schools and with the Council to help ensure that no child has had to go to school out of the area. We believe that every child has a right to go to school within walking distance, and with the support of the local community this goal has been achieved up to now. We need it to happen again.

To keep the local community informed of the latest developments, to hear about plans for the future and get a chance to ask questions, we are organising a public meeting in a month's time. Representatives of the Council will be there, and the local schools are also invited. The date will be confirmed shortly.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Southville considering expansion

Copy of the newsletter Southville Primary school sent out just before half term. 

  6th February 2013
Dear Parents and Carers,

Thank you to everyone who has given us their thoughts on possible future school expansion.

We are sorry that we have not been able to send you more detailed information, but we have been asked to allow the council to complete negotiations with other parties privately before making the options public.

The School Admissions Officer has confirmed, following the deadline for applications, that there will not be enough school places for local children in September 2013 and in the future unless additional accommodation is found.

As Governors are acutely aware of the community’s need for more school places they have examined the options available:

  • stay as we are, a one form entry Primary School on the current site
  • consider adding a new school building a short distance away, which would be completed in 2015. This would mean Southville Primary would remain as one school but operate across two sites and eventually be three forms of entry.

Careful consideration has been given to pros and cons of expansion and we all really want to maintain the special atmosphere we have at Southville Primary School. Parents have told us that they think we have a great school and a harmonious learning environment and in particular, a family/community spirit, a friendly, supportive and caring atmosphere in which children feel safe and opportunities for children of all ages to integrate and build relationships across year groups.

Governors are committed to maintaining the best provision for our pupils and the ethos that makes the school special. The Senior Leadership Team has also discussed this and continues to look at ways in which this might be achieved.

Concerns raised by parents/ carers such as playground space, dropping off siblings, PTA activities and events, After School and Breakfast Club and maintaining the drive to be an outstanding school are all being taken into consideration.

The additional site proposed is already owned by Bristol City Council and architects have confirmed that this piece of land is large enough to increase the size of our school.

The council will continue to look for places for reception children in the local area in 2013 and 2014 as the new building is unlikely to be ready before 2015. 
 
So what would Southville Primary School look like in the future if we decide to accept these changes?

Governors and staff have explored several options and we will invite you to a meeting soon to share these. The preferred option on leadership, management and educational grounds would be that the current Stackpool site would house Years 4, 5, 6 and a new building would be purpose built for Nursery, Reception and Years 1, 2, 3.

Eventually the school would be arranged as follows:

Stackpool Road site: 
 3x Year 4 classes 
 3xYear 5 classes 
 3xYear 6 classes

 New site
1x Nursery class
3x Reception classes
3x Year 1
3x Year 2
3x Year 3

A provisional date for parents to find out more information and ask questions has been arranged for Wednesday 7th March at 7 pm at school. Governors will be present along with representatives from Bristol City Council.

Yours sincerely,

Richard James
Chair of Governors

Sandie Smith
Headteacher

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Negotiations for a new site ongoing


Although the Council were unable to confirm arrangements for addressing the deficit in places for September 2013 prior to applications closing, they have assured us that efforts are continuing to secure sites locally.
A report will be submitted to Cabinet for approval on Thursday 24th January to authorise the acquisition of land/premises as part of the Council's approach to create extra primary school places in the area.

The Council hope to be able to reveal plans in more detail next month.

Some excerpts from the report:

"Within the Greater Bedminster partnership area the [Revised School Organisation] Strategy identifies there will be a shortfall equivalent to 5FE [forms of entry, i.e classes] of primary school provision by 2016 unless the City Council takes action to address the shortfall.
An opportunity has arisen for the Council to purchase a site which would enable the development of additional primary school facilities."

"Schools in the area have been sympathetic to the needs of the community and of the City Council in meeting the requirement for additional places. Land is at a premium within local schools and unless additional land can be acquired further expansion is not possible. The acquisition of a new site for expansion would give schools, parents and Governors confidence that they will have facilities available for additional admissions in September 2013 and beyond."

To read the whole report:

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Ashton Gate nursery to remain at Southville Centre

Ashton Gate primary school has sent out a letter concerning its nursery class 2013-2014

"As you are aware there is still uncertainty regarding the provision of Reception places in the local area for 2013-2014. Consequently, the Governors have made the decision not to re-open our Nursery class for September 2013. We do not wish to see parents and the school, possibly, once again, put in the very difficult position we were in last summer term.
The Southville Centre Nursery will therefore continue with the Nursery Class that opened this same year."

Sue Wilson (Head of Ashton Gate), 11th January 2013