A secondary school’s leadership team has assured the council it will be flexible amid concerns of a shortage of places.
Joseph Rowntree School, in Haxby Road, New Earswick, has seen its roll fall in recent years. And that is projected to continue, according to a council report published yesterday (8 January).
The report advises the education executive, Cllr Bob Webb, to approve a plan to reduce the published admission number (PAN) for Joseph Rowntree School from 232 to 210 on 15 January.
That is because council officers “understand the financial pressure the school will be under” if it is unable to reduce the number of places to 210.
The report says: “However, if the school goes ahead with the decision to reduce the PAN to 210 from 2025/26, it could be difficult to place everyone in Y7 and facilitate in-year migration across the secondary planning area.”
It adds: “Analysis of the current number of pupils in catchment primary schools and a weighted average for the proportion starting Year 7 in Joseph Rowntree suggests there may be a slightly higher number of pupils starting Y7 in the next few years than was originally forecast.
“If these higher numbers apply, there is a concern that there could be a deficit of places at Joseph Rowntree with a PAN of 210.
“School leadership has reassured City of York Council officers that the school could have some flexibility and would be willing to accommodate all children living in catchment should it be necessary.”
Numbers at Bishopthorpe Infants School and Archbishop of York Junior School are also recommended to be reduced from 50 to 30 and from 60 to 45 respectively.
Cllr Webb, the education executive, said: “On an annual basis schools make a decision as to how many young people they are planning to teach the following year.
“This allows them to responsibly plan and budget for the years ahead.
“As the birth rate has fallen in some areas, this means that those schools have to plan accordingly.”
Cllr Andrew Waller, York Liberal Democrats’ spokesperson for education said: “Schools in York don’t receive the same level of funding as schools in other parts of the country.
“Per resident York receives £735 for schools versus a national average of £952.
“Liberal Democrats pushed for a fair funding solution for York’s schools when they were in control of the council.
“Therefore, with pressures on budgets, and a reduction in numbers of children, more schools are ensuring their intake numbers guarantee that class teachers all have a full classroom of pupils.
“This is going to reduce the flexibility to change between schools, and will put more competition on places in particular schools.
“The council does not have the same level of influence as it had before the academy process was set up and so trusts take the lead with the schools that they cover.
“A fairer funding model would provide individual schools with more flexibility, but at the moment the funding systems mean that staffing numbers require a minimum number of pupils to support budgets that have no give left in them.”