Questions in this section:
Will there be changes to primary schools’ catchment areas?
Will there be changes to secondary school catchment areas?
What about traffic?
What will happen to Rotherly Nursery?
Why is a stand alone primary school not being considered for the Westgate site?
Will the new build have to be an Academy?
Is 4-16 education the way forward in Hampshire now?
Given the rise in primary numbers will there be sufficient secondary age places in Winchester as they feed through?
Why hasn’t this consultation covered the boarding provision at Westgate and Kings’ schools?
What happens if the boarding provision is retained?
What happens after this consultation?
Will I have the opportunity to discuss the proposal and ask questions?
How can my views be heard?
If, Option A is chosen then will be a need to review primary catchment areas. This would be the subject of a full, separate statutory consultation. If it is decided that the best way to provide the additional primary places is through the expansion of existing schools (Option B) then the current catchment areas would remain for the immediate future. However we will keep them under review as the pattern of starts for new housing developments becomes clearer.
Whichever option is chosen we anticipate that the current general patterns of movement of pupils from primary to secondary from Winchester and the surrounding areas will remain broadly unchanged. Depending upon the option chosen to provide additional primary places and on the progress of other planning proposals around Winchester (eg Barton Farm) it may be appropriate to consider whether changes to secondary catchment areas and/or to designated linked primary schools would be appropriate. Any changes would be timed to coincide with the September 2019 secondary intake (the September 2012 Year R children) and would need to take into account the pattern of growth in the numbers of primary school pupils across the wider Winchester district.
Such a reconsideration of secondary catchments would not be undertaken lightly as it will be very complex with no ‘right’ answer. There is a much greater mix in the system at secondary age with pupils from all parts of Winchester accessing all three of the Winchester secondary schools so there would have to be a strong justification for change.
The County Council appreciates that local residents will be concerned about the potential traffic implications around the expansion of any school, and that Option A is causing concern for this reason to residents immediately local to The Westgate School. By planning to create school places as close as possible to where children live we create the best chances that those children will make their way to school other than by car.
For Option A it is important to note that most, if not all, the pupils who would be attending the proposed new provision would live in the communities surrounding the Rotherly site. They will therefore all be making a journey to school regardless of whether new provision on the site goes ahead. If the additional primary places that are needed are not available locally then it is more likely that those children will take vehicular transport to go to schools outside the area with a resulting greater impact locally.
Initial thoughts from our highways consultants on the proposal for the Rotherly site in Option A are that it would be suitable, in terms of transport, for use as 2 form entry primary accommodation. This view is based on a number of preliminary assumptions including staggered start/finish times for the primary and secondary provision and that an appropriate school travel plan is developed. It is anticipated that the main access to the Early Years and primary provision would be from Green Lane rather than Links Road. These preliminary views will be subject to more detailed investigations and assessments should this proposal be taken forward.
A transport assessment is currently being compiled for the other schools in Options A or B by our highways consultants.
A School Travel Plan is a document produced by the whole school community and any other interested parties. It looks at how students, staff and visitors travel to and from school, and sets out measures to:
·Encourage and enable students, parents, guardians and staff to walk and cycle
·encourage and enable children, parents, guardians and staff to use bus and train services
·Encourage and provide educational programmes relating to child travel and how this links to the environment, safety and health
This is highly regarded early years provision which is very important to the families accessing it. If the proposal to build on the Rotherly site was to go ahead then we would arrange alternative provision while building work was underway. The new provision would include high quality 0-4 baby and nursery provision to cater for the existing numbers of Early Years children.
The national guidelines for a two form entry (420 place) primary school site are a minimum requirement of 2 hectares (this includes playing field facilities). Hampshire County Council would always seek to provide a new school on an appropriate sized site. The Rotherly site at 1 hectare for the site standing alone is undersized for a 420 place primary school but, when combined with the access to The Westgate School playing fields, sport and open space facilities then the site becomes more than adequate
The presumption is that all new schools will be opened either as Academies or Free schools unless no sponsor comes forward to run them. The proposal for Option A is an expansion of an existing school (the Rotherly site is not big enough for a stand-alone school) and therefore does not fall under the Academy/Free School legislation. If an alternative site was found where a stand alone school could be built then that would have to be offered as either an Academy or a Free School. The key differences would be that the school would not be maintained by the Local Authority, would be able to determine its own admissions arrangements and would almost certainly open as a full Year R to Year 6 provision (rather than the staged opening we propose for Option A.
There is much to commend the strength of a mixed economy in schooling which not only creates healthy competition to raise standards across the school system but offers as much parental choice as possible to cater for every child’s particular needs. The County Council is not about to rush into 4-16 solutions, but they will be considered where they appear to be a sensible educational and financial option and the local configuration of schools lends itself to such a way forward.
Winchester is fortunate to have three outstanding secondary schools all of which show strong demand for places. Each has a different character and between them they combine to offer Winchester pupils an enviable choice of secondary school education.
Pupil information for the three Winchester secondary schools shows that the schools are a net importer of pupils from outside the Winchester area of approximately 700 pupils over the five year groups in the schools. Consequently the additional 85 pupils year on year from Winchester Town (from September 2019) will be able to secure a place in one of the Winchester Schools, because of the ‘distance’ criteria in admissions policies. However, unless the three secondary schools expand their admissions numbers from September 2019 fewer pupils from outside the Winchester area would be able to secure a place.
The planning for secondary provision from September 2019 to address the increasing demand as the current additional Year R pupils move through the system (right across Hampshire) will start by 2015. This is considerably easier than planning for Year R places as the pupils are mostly already in the ‘system’ and we have plenty of information on established patterns of movement from primary to secondary provision.
There is a separate statutory consultation on the boarding provision at both these schools which is running in parallel with this consultation on primary places. You can find the consultation document at www.hants.gov.uk/boardingreview
If the outcome of the boarding consultation is that the provision is retained then the proposals for the Rotherly site would not be able to proceed and either option B or any alternative option that emerges from this consultation (not involving the Rotherly site) would be progressed. The decision was made to recommend a consultation on the closure of the boarding provision before it became apparent that the Rotherly site would be suitable for primary provision. The timelines for any potential opening of the primary provision in September 2014 meant that the two consultations had to run in parallel otherwise the primary provision timeline would have shifted to at least September 2015, prolonging the uncertainty about the decisions for additional primary places in Winchester.
This consultation will run until 15 June 2012. Officers will then prepare a report which will take into consideration all the consultation responses, set out the issues and make a recommendation to the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services at his decision day in July 2012. Depending on the outcome various things will happen:
if Option A is chosen we will publish Statutory Notices to change The Westgate School status. We would also immediately launch a review and consultation on primary catchment arrangements from September 2014 in Winchester, which would need to be completed in time for the publication of admission arrangements for September 2014 (therefore by 15 April 2013)
if Option B is chosen we will take forward detailed work with the existing Winchester primary schools to make provision for the additional year on year primary school places required, and undertake further statutory and local consultations as necessary
if an alternative option is chosen then we will address further actions accordingly.
Yes. Consultation meetings are planned for governors, parents, staff and other interested members of the community.
At the meetings you will have the opportunity to hear County Council officers explain the reasons for the proposals and the process and timescales to be followed but, most importantly, they will want to hear your views. These will be reported back to the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services in July 2012.
We will listen to views at the consultation events.
We will also consider all electronic or hard copy returns. We urge you to use the response form and complete it in detail. A response using the electronic survey form would be the most efficient for our analysis.
If you have further questions or would like more information which is not covered in this document, please contact :
School Organisation Officer
Elizabeth II Court East
Children’s Services Department
Hampshire County Council
Winchester SO23 8UG
Telephone: 01962 846350
We will include your question and an answer onto this web site in the frequently asked questions section.