Report of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education/Director of Children’s Services.
Consideration was given to a report of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Education / Director of Children’s Services, consulting the on the proposed allocation of secondary school places 2022-2025.
A Member sought clarification in relation to the number of school places available at Hollingworth and Wardle Academies, noting cases whereby children from the Pennines Township had been unable to receive the offer of a place at those schools.
Options remain are constantly under review as a result of impacts of such as the current pandemic. This also includes house building rates or timing of new developments will have knock on effects on school capacity.
1. That the delivery timescales and spaces in the three new schools; The Edgar Wood Academy in Middleton, the Littleborough Star Leadership Academy and the Heywood SEN School, be noted.
2. That it be noted the current pupil forecasts, and timelines on the new schools, indicate the council’s ability to meet its statutory duty. This is dependent on current timelines indicated by the Department for Education’s Capital and Free School teams working on the new schools.
3. That it be noted on-going inflow of pupils that has increased since the start of the easing of the pandemic lockdown, are causing significant challenges to Secondary schools that are at or close to capacity.
Reason for resolution
The Council has a statutory duty to offer every pupil living in the borough, who applies, a Secondary school place. Where the council offers a school place that is over the statutory “safe walking distance” for the age of that child the Council is required to provide free school transport. Because bus transport in the area is provided through Transport for Greater Manchester, any child offered a school place, which is over the statutory distance criteria, is offered a free bus pass that is provided from council funds. The council receives no central government funding for school bus transport.