15 June 2012

Northamptonshire County Council has created an additional 150 primary school places in Northampton town to accommodate late applications for reception year children.

A total of 8828 reception places were allocated to children in the county this year where their applications were received on time, an increase of 416 applications on last year (2011) and 801 applications more than received in 2010.

However, to date an additional 134 applications for Northampton town have been received by the council after the application deadline for which there were no available places.

In response, the council has now created additional places in the following schools:

  • Boothville Primary School - 30 places
  • Bridgewater Primary School - 30 places
  • Castle Primary School - 30 places
  • Delapre Primary School - 30 places
  • East Hunsbury Primary School - 30 places

Councillor Andrew Grant, cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said: “We plan some years ahead for school places, at primary and secondary level. In doing so, we have access to birth rates telling us the numbers of children born in the county who’ll be needing school places some four years later alongside plans for new housing developments which will add to the school population.

“However, both this year and last we’ve seen a surge of applications for children who quite frankly hadn’t been factored into the town’s capacity needs.

“We’re dealing with changes in migratory patterns, with more families moving into the county than previously was the case, with those families increasingly opting to raise their families in the town centre.

“Where they’ve come from, whether it’s from the East Midlands region, London overspill or from abroad, we don’t know because we don’t ask our school applicants for those details. What we do know is that it’s placing an unprecedented demand on Northampton’s primary sector capacity where we have reached saturation point.

“We had predicted the majority of the additional places needed this year having already created extra school places. But we had no way of forecasting the volume of late applications that have placed such a big strain on the schools in the town centre area.

“We’ve spent the past few weeks in very constructive talks with our local schools and as a result we’ve been able to identify new places to meet that pressure.

“As well as making sure we’re meeting our obligations to provide places for those late applications, we’re also inviting those parents in Northampton who weren’t successful in securing any of their three preferences to consider applying for these new places.”

All parents who have already expressed a preference for the schools listed and are therefore on the waiting-list do not need to re-apply as they are automatically reconsidered.

Parents who wish their child to be considered for one of the new places are asked to complete an application form or apply online via the council’s website. Applications should be returned to the School Admissions Team no later than 22 June 2012.

If there are more applications than places available, the over subscription criteria for the school will be applied and places allocated accordingly. Parents need to be aware that it is more important where they will appear in the over subscription criteria for each school than it is the order of preferences e.g. if you live in the town centre and place East Hunsbury as your first preference you are highly unlikely to be given one of the extra places.

The pressure on school places is being replicated across the country; however, Northamptonshire is one of the fastest growing counties resulting in more pressure in urban areas, especially Northampton town centre.

Since September 2010 the council has made plans to create an additional 1,030 reception places across the county, with 465 of them in Northampton. This includes use of spare classrooms, refurbishment of existing buildings, the building of permanent extensions, and the use of mobile classrooms. The school sites in Northampton where building work is either underway or proposed are Briar Hill, Castle, Kings Heath, Kingsley, Standens Barn, Kingsthorpe Village, Abbey, Sunnyside, Hopping Hill, Weston Favell, St Andrews, Bridgewater, Boothville, Delapre and Earl Spencer.

Further work is now being done to provide the necessary capacity for September 2013 onwards.