To receive a report from the Director for Education Standards, Quality and Performance.
The Chair introduced this item by noting that school placements were an issue across the borough but recognised that the issue was particularly bad across the South of the Borough.
The Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access gave a short presentation which picked out the highlights of the report circulated as part of the agenda. The Committee were informed of the structure of the teams that looked at planning of school placements and the utilisation of funding received. The presentation provided details of the ScAPP survey and how the aim of the service was to provide places for all children within Trafford not all those who wanted placements within Trafford schools. Many applications had been received from the families placed in Trafford from the Ukraine with 80 places having been received as of the meeting from families within Trafford with 12 coming from outside of the borough.
For primary school sufficiency Trafford had a surplus in every area and 93.4% received a place at their first choice and 98.5% received a place at one of their first three choices. However, Trafford had seen a large increase in the number of in year applications received, with an increase of 56% in the last year.
The Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access went through the list of permanent expansions planned across the borough which would add 665 school places. Due to the pressures the Council had had to place children further away than usual and would provide those pupils transport costs when it went beyond the statutory distances.
The Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access then moved onto Secondary school sufficiency. The Committee were informed that secondary school were a much more complicated picture as Trafford only had responsibility for 1 of the 19 schools in the area. The RAG rating for secondary school places was shown to be red across the whole of the borough and the SCAP 2021 analysis stated that Trafford needed 607 additional places, but the situation had changed greatly. The Committee were shown the development options that the Council had considered with short term measures that included the need for Trafford Parents to fill out all 5 options with Trafford schools to protect places for Trafford residents in schools. With regards to long term options the Committee were informed that there was enough evidence to show a new secondary school was needed within Trafford and the Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access explained the funding routes available to the Council to build a school.
Following the presentation Councillor Welton asked if the Council could increase the number of preferences beyond 5. In response the Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access stated that 5 was already above the requirement and the evidence showed that it did seem to work if all 5 of the options were utilised.
Councillor Blackburn asked about the cost of creating school places in Trafford compared to the funding schools received per pupil. The Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access explained it was the capital cost rather than the revenue cost which linked to the expansion across education systems rather individual schools.
Councillor Whetton asked whether the potential new school in sale considered future possible growth. The Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access responded that the SCAP formula looked up to seven years in advance and when the declining birth rate in the area was considered it looked as though the demand for places would stabilise beyond the seven years. The Director Education Standards, Quality and Performance added that had contacted the DFE and the response received was very positive.
Councillor Whetton then asked about the preference scheme, the messaging of the Council, and how strong that messaging was. In response the Head of Early Years, School Places, and Access stated that the Council made it very clear the impact of not filling out all the places and that putting additional options did not impact the likelihood of a child going to their first-choice school.
Councillor Welton noted the amount of transport across the borough associated with children getting to school. Councillor Welton expressed that there was a need to know the implications of that transportation upon traffic within the borough and there was a need to take a joined-up approach to be able to reduce the levels of traffic caused by school placements. Councillor Welton then asked if there was anything that could be done to calculate those issues and whether there were there any hopes of addressing them. The Director Education Standards, Quality and Performance responded that at a Secondary Heads standing conference had been presented with the data and had discussed the issues raised by Councillor Welton.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.