The Deputy Leader (Policy) introduced the report as a regular update which showed pressure on primary school placesprimarily in the south of the borough and in those areas experiencing development, which would soon need increased secondary school places. There would be a balancing act to find places and respond to changing circumstances, and noted that the pressure never dissipated.
Cabinet Members raised the following points:
· The Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability enquired about Wandsworth’s surplus of secondary Year 7 places (page 178, agenda pack) and whether any free schools were planned to alleviate secondary school pressure in Lambeth.
· The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care noted the pressure on secondary schools (paragraphs 2.15-2.21) was alarming especially with a cross-borough effect taken into account, and asked officers to outline approaches to extra schools, and what assistance central government might provide.
Officers made the following comments:
· Primary school places needed to be matched up with areas planned for housing development, whilst secondary schools treated the borough as a whole, due to their students’ increased mobility. It was noted that every child had to be offered a place, and 97% of primary school pupils received their first or second place. Tables for bulge classes and entry expansions were listed in the agenda pack (page 171-2) and showed a greater demand for places in the south of the borough. This had been met with a comprehensive building and expansion programme, whilst maintaining quality.
· It was noted that Wandsworth had a large number of free schools and a resultant surplus until 2021, whilst adjacent boroughs were nearing capacity and would reach 100% in 2017/18, for which they were being monitored. Lambeth’s Oasis Southbank and Trinity free schools were now active and would begin taking the surge next year, with a further free school under consideration, but by 2022 it would be difficult to find sites or expand existing facilities even with planned schools proceeding.
The Leader of the Council thanked officers for the report and highlighted the significant improvement over the last decade with increasing quantities of school places, whilst quality was also improving.
1. To note the projections of demand for places and the priority for creating additional secondary school places.
2. To agree the approach to prioritisation of secondary school places as shown in appendix B, based on the previously agreed criteria for primary places.
3. To agree to the proposed programme of work set out in paragraphs 2.29 to 2.36 of this report, subject to appropriate statutory consents.