Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeNewsBramley school set to take on fewer pupils as birth rate falls

Bramley school set to take on fewer pupils as birth rate falls

By David Spereall, local democracy reporter

A West Leeds primary school is one of three across the city which is set to take on fewer new pupils every year, in response to the falling birth rate across the city.

Greenhill Primary School in Bramley, Oulton Primary School near Rothwell and Gildersome Primary School in Morley will each have their reception place numbers reduced from 60 to 45, under proposals.

If approved by the city council, the changes will take effect from September 2024.

A report going before senior leaders next week said the move would help headteachers at the three schools to plan ahead financially.

It also said governors at each of three schools supported the idea, and that the move could be reversed in future if the birth rate rises again.

The report said: “The local authority has a duty to ensure sufficient school places and works with schools and trusts to manage the number of available places when pupil numbers rise and when they fall.

“The birth rate in Leeds has been declining over recent years and in the locality of these schools, we are expecting less demand for places in future years.”

Although public consultations found broad support for the reduced intake, the report acknowledged some parents were concerned fewer places would mean less choice.

But addressing that point, it said: “Whilst any reduction means there are less places available across the city, in the local area for each of the three schools we believe the reduced admission numbers will be better aligned with pupil numbers.

“In addition, if there was an unexpected change in pupil numbers in the future, each school could admit above the published admission numbers if there was a need to do so.”

Catchment areas for schools elsewhere in the city are also likely to be altered in September 2024.

It marks the latest efforts of education bosses in Leeds to adjust to declining numbers of children, even though the city’s overall population rose by around eight per cent between 2011 and 2021.

Around 15 per cent of reception places in local primary schools went unfilled last September.

Leeds City Council proposed closing Queensway Primary School in Yeadon last year because of the falling birth rate there, but later abandoned the move after heavy criticism.

And last month, the head teacher of Farsley Fairfield School said his school had lost out on £28,000, because its reception class was not full to capacity for the very first time this year.

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