School places actively cut by Bournemouth council since 2006

The front page of yesterday's Echo

The front page of yesterday's Echo

First published in News by

BOURNEMOUTH council – which is grappling with a crisis in primary school places – was actively cutting spaces six years ago.

As reported yesterday, around 160 families in the borough did not get their children into any of their three preferred primary schools – with some parents facing giving up their jobs or homes as a result.

The Daily Echo submitted a Freedom of Information request to Bournemouth council, asking for all the information it held on projected pupil numbers in the run-up to the decision to close Townsend School in 2008.

This shows that as recently as January 2007, council officers were saying that pupil numbers were still falling and there was a 10 per cent of surplus of places at primary schools.

In some schools, the surplus was even higher. In 2006/7, only 44 out of 60 reception places at Elmrise were taken up, 36 out of 60 at Heathlands, 43 out of 60 at King’s Park, 31 out of 60 at Kingsleigh, 50 out of 60 at Kinson, 68 out of 90 at Malmesbury Park, 24 out of 60 at Pokesdown, 59 out of 90 at St Clements and St Johns, 15 out of 30 at Townsend and 69 out of 90 at Winton.

As a result, places were removed at Elmrise, Kingsleigh, King’s Park, Heathlands and Queen’s Park infant school and Townsend was closed.

However, the same document warned: “Birth rates are now predicted to start to increase gradually in the borough, a reversal of the previous decline.

“The borough is also experiencing a growth in immigration. These two factors suggest that the current decline in pupil numbers may slow, but numbers are unlikely to increase, at least in the next five years.”

By the end of 2008 – the year in which Townsend was closed – councillors were told they would need to expand 11 primary schools to create almost 200 extra places by September 2010. A further 180 were needed for September 2011.

This meant that many of the same schools that had been reduced were hastily expanded again, including King’s Park, Elmrise, Queen’s Park Infants, Kingsleigh and Winton, Heathlands and Pokesdown. Other spaces were created at St Michael’s, Corpus Christi, Christ the King, Kinson, St Katharine’s and Muscliff.

This has still not been enough and the council has had to continue creating further reception classes and continuing with expansions that were supposed to be temporary. This task has got more difficult year on year as options for expansion become more limited.

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Comments (5)

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12:26pm Thu 17 May 12

Arjay says...

At least the realisation that further expansion is necessary will give some hope to those parents only offered places miles away from home this year.
By the time it is compulsory for their children to enter full time education, at the age of 5, there will hopefully be sufficient 'local' places, in all areas?

Gives some hope to those currently faced with the immediate prospect of 'bussing' their 4 year old children to a school, miles away from home.....
At least the realisation that further expansion is necessary will give some hope to those parents only offered places miles away from home this year. By the time it is compulsory for their children to enter full time education, at the age of 5, there will hopefully be sufficient 'local' places, in all areas? Gives some hope to those currently faced with the immediate prospect of 'bussing' their 4 year old children to a school, miles away from home..... Arjay
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Thu 17 May 12

Repo says...

When you report that these schools were 'reduced' and now need to be 'expanded'. Do you mean they employed one less teacher and a couple less TA's? This is what most sensible private companies do all the time - whats the Big Deal ? We're the classrooms bulldozed ? (with the exception of townsend).
When you report that these schools were 'reduced' and now need to be 'expanded'. Do you mean they employed one less teacher and a couple less TA's? This is what most sensible private companies do all the time - whats the Big Deal ? We're the classrooms bulldozed ? (with the exception of townsend). Repo
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Thu 17 May 12

bea says...

Must be a different report to the one I read around 2007, that predicted a rise in the birthrate and immigration, I couldn't believe it when they closed Townsend
Must be a different report to the one I read around 2007, that predicted a rise in the birthrate and immigration, I couldn't believe it when they closed Townsend bea
  • Score: 0

2:50pm Thu 17 May 12

sea poole says...

souwest -What are you on? Whatever it is, it certainly is boiling your brain...
souwest -What are you on? Whatever it is, it certainly is boiling your brain... sea poole
  • Score: 0

3:09pm Thu 17 May 12

BmthNewshound says...

Perhaps if the council spent more time and effort on doing what they are supposed to do ie. education, social care etc and less time on trophy projects like the Imax and surf reef they wouldn't have been caught out.
.
Like I've said before the council chamber needs to be more representative of the towns demographic. Look around the council chamber its like a home for the bewildered and bored pensioners.
Perhaps if the council spent more time and effort on doing what they are supposed to do ie. education, social care etc and less time on trophy projects like the Imax and surf reef they wouldn't have been caught out. . Like I've said before the council chamber needs to be more representative of the towns demographic. Look around the council chamber its like a home for the bewildered and bored pensioners. BmthNewshound
  • Score: 0

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