Published on Sunday, 22nd January 2017

 

While increases are also forecast for the infant and junior stages, the big shift this year is in secondary school forecasts.I don't have the numbers in front of me, but crudely the number of year 7 pupils expected in 2019/20 is about 70 higher than similar estimates for that year made twelve months ago. So even though we've created some 80 additional year 7 places this year through reconfiguring existing accommodation, the forecast school place deficit has not come down.

 

This may seem odd: on the face of it, predicting year 7 numbers is easy, you just count backwards to get the number in the year those pupils are currently in. That however ignores two factors: one, that significant numbers of Portsmouth children attend state primary schools and public secondary schools and two, that a large number of children from mainland parts of Portsmouth attend secondary schools outside the city's boundaries: mostly Purbrook Park and Portchester.

 

Hampshire is also experiencing growing school rolls, with the result that it no longer has spare capacity for Portsmouth pupils. This is a problem. If the latest forecasts are correct and if no further remedial action is taken, there will be no spare places at all in year 7 by 2019/20 (I think the estimate is we'd be one short).

 

Local authorities remain responsible for creating places in all types of school, whether academy or not. The capital budget for 2017/8 is not yet finalised, but some provision for further school expansion is likely to be included.

 

Tags: Schools