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:

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