West Berkshire Council

Start date: 2017-12-04
End date: 2018-01-31
Results: 2018-03-30

[ARCHIVED] Admission Arrangements 2019/20 for Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools

We are seeking your views on proposed changes to admission arrangements for West Berkshire schools for 2019/20

This consultation is now closed. 

NB: West Berkshire Council decided on 4 January 2018, to halt plans to build a new primary school in Theale. A sixth proposal, to reduce the admission number for Theale Primary School, has therefore been added to the proposed admission arrangements (as of 8 January 2018). All West Berkshire Schools have been contacted about this change.

Local Authorities have a statutory responsibility to determine admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools in their area by 28 February each year. In doing this, Local Authorities must comply with the requirements of the School Admissions Code and all relevant legislation. Where changes to the admission arrangements are proposed, consultation must take place between 1 October and 31 January.

The proposed admission arrangements for 2019/20 remain largely the same as last years, with the exception of substituting the appropriate dates for 2019/20.

We propose the following changes to our pdf icon admissions arrangements for 2019/20: [8Mb]

1. Add a feeder school admission criteria (Category C) in relation to infant and junior school applications to support consistency in children's schooling:

Feeder Infant Schools. Children who attend the infant school that links to the junior school as detailed below:

  • Calcot Junior School - The Feeder School is Calcot Infant School.
  • Garland Junior School - The Feeder School is Mrs Blands Infant School.
  • John Rankin Junior School - The Feeder School is John Rankin Infant School.
  • Parsons Down Junior School - The Feeder School is Parsons Down Infant School.
  • Westwood Farm Junior School - The Feeder School is Westwood Farm Infant School

2. For reception applications only, add a new tie breaker for each admission criteria. 

The School Admissions Code explains that Admission authorities may give priority in their over subscription criteria to children eligible for the early year's pupil premium who are in a nursery class which is part of the school. We intend to include this as a tie breaker for each school to support the continuity of education for low income families:

A child entitled to the Early Years Pupil Premium Grant (during the application period, 12 September to 15 January) who attends the nursery school that is linked to the school.
Parent's must have applied to the West Berkshire Council Early Years Team for the early years pupil premium grant and been entitled between 12 September and 15 January for consideration with their on-time school application. Parents must indicate within their reasons for applying for a school place that they are entitled to the Early Years Pupil Premium Grant and this will be verified by the school admissions team.
Where parents apply for and are entitled to the Early Years Pupil premium Grant after 15 January and while their child still attends the nursery that is linked to the school, this will be taken into account after the national offer date (16 April).

This applies to the following schools that have a nursery on site that is managed by the school:

  • Calcot Infant School
  • John Rankin Infant School
  • Mrs Blands Infant School
  • Pangbourne Primary School
  • Purley Primary School
  • Robert Sandilands Primary School
  • Springfield Primary School
  • Spurcroft Primary School
  • Thatcham Park Primary School
  • The Willows Primary School
  • The Winchcombe Primary School
  • Theale Primary School
  • Westwood Farm Primary School

3. To increase The Willink School's Admission number from 180 to 195.

The admission authority is only required to consult with the school when increasing the admission number so this change is not open to full public consultation.

4. To decrease Parsons Down Infant School's admission number from 90 to 60.

5. To decrease Parsons Down Junior School's admission number from 90 to 60.

(NB: With regard to 4 and 5. Pupil numbers in Thatcham are forecast to decline and in order for schools to be financially viable it is necessary to decrease admission numbers.)

6. To decrease Theale Primary School's admission number from 45 to 30.

Plans to build a new £8m school in Theale have been halted in favour of creating additional school places elsewhere. Over the past four years West Berkshire Council has been working to increase the number of school places available in Theale. As a result of changes to the village's population and the anticipated demand created by future housing there is a need to provide more primary school places in the area. A new school was planned but will not now be built following continuing delays by Theale Parish Council in making a decision on whether or not to relinquish its lease on vital land without which the school cannot be built. Instead, West Berkshire Council will look to increase capacity at other schools in the area.

Theale Primary School was built to have one new class of 30 pupils each year. Due to an increase in demand it has been using temporary accommodation to take up to 45 new pupils each year while a permanent solution has been found which would allow for two new classes each year (60 new pupils). This is not sustainable and arrangements will be made for Theale Primary School to return to an intake of 30 new pupils each year and those pupils whose applications are unsuccessful will be allocated places at other schools in the area.

West Berkshire Council has written to Theale Parish Council confirming its decision to halt work on the new school. It includes an offer to reconsider the decision only if confirmation the land will be released is received by the end of January 2018. This may then result in the reduction of the admission number not being required.

What we did

We took the two responses into consideration and decided to proceed with the changes to the admissions policy.

You can view the determined admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools for 2019/20 on the School Admission Arrangements webpage

Who To Contact

Contact details for West Berkshire's School Admissions Team

01635 519771