04 November 2019
Consultation on a proposed reduction in the published admission number (PAN) for
Graham School, Hope Learning Trust, with effect from September 2021
Length of consultation: 6 weeks, ending on 16 December 2019
Admission authorities must have determined their admissions arrangements for entry in September 2021 by 28 February 2020. They must publish them on their website and have sent a copy to their local authority before 15 March 2020.
As an academy, we are our own admissions authority and as such must ensure that:
- consultation lasts for a minimum of 6 weeks and must take place between 1 October 2019 and 31 January 2020.
- we consult with:
- parents of children between the ages of two and eighteen;
- other persons in the relevant area who may have an interest in the proposed admissions;
- all other admission authorities within the relevant area;
- the local authority
- for the duration of the consultation period, a copy of our full proposed admission arrangements (including the proposed PAN) is published on our website together with details of the person within the admission authority to whom comments may be sent and the areas on which comments are not sought.
- send upon request a copy of the proposed admission arrangements to any of the persons or bodies listed above inviting comment.
To decrease the published admission number from 290 students to 210 students.
Although the Regulations and Code of Practice relating to school admissions no longer require an admissions authority to consult when maintaining or increasing a school’s PAN, there remains a requirement to consult when the proposal is to reduce a PAN. Hope Learning Trust, as the admissions authority, is seeking comments on this proposed change.
The current Published Admission Number (PAN) for Graham School is 290 – initiated in 2019 by North Yorkshire County Council, this was changed from 270 in previous years. This means that the number of children admitted into the school at Year 7 each year is limited to 290. However the actual average current year group total is 195, the smallest year 164, the largest year 245.
Due to the necessary changes to the building, to make it fit for purpose that have taken place over a number of years, we believe the current PAN if it were to be met would exceed the physical capacity of the academy to accommodate this number of pupils. Reducing the PAN will ensure that the current building is suitable, safe and fit for purpose.
The building was originally designed and built in 1973. The current student population are formed of two schools which were merged in 2012 – Graham School and Raincliffe School. At the point of amalgamation, the schools were split into Key stages with Key stage 3 (Year 7 & 8) sited on the Raincliffe site and Key Stage 4 (Years 9 to 11) site at the Graham site. Pupil numbers steadily decreased on a yearly basis meaning it was financially unsustainable to run the school across a split site so in 2017 the schools merged onto the Graham School site. From this point pupil numbers have begun to increase. At the time of merger 7 temporary classrooms were removed from use at Graham. In addition, 32 general teaching spaces, 1 dining hall, 1 gym, 1 sports hall and 1 MUGA (Astroturf pitch) were no longer available for use at Raincliffe. The Local Authority agreed to build 8 new classrooms at Graham as a means to support the merger.
However this resulted in a net loss of 31 teaching spaces overall, plus significant sporting and dining facilities, which have not been replaced.
The rationale for this by the Local Authority was one of falling role, however in their calculations rooms that the school has deemed essential for other uses had been counted as teaching spaces and the Academy do not feel it is appropriate to change the use of these rooms as we move forward, some example include: Library (counts as 3 spaces), Learning Support (2 spaces), Stage, Upper mezzanine in the Dining Hall, Small Hall (all used as Dining space), Main Hall, Saw Mill room.
In recent years, there has been a national focus on increasing the number of students studying History, Geography and Modern Foreign Languages through to GCSE. This includes recognising students who complete the EBacc, i.e. achieving a ‘pass’ grade in English, Maths, Science, a humanity and a Modern Foreign Language. There has also been a need to increase the amount of teaching time in Core Subjects – Maths, English and Science. As a result, the school is now very limited on the number of general teaching spaces and the number of Science laboratories available. There has been a need to ask staff to deliver lessons in spaces that are not designed for the purpose; Science in general spaces, or general lessons in Technology spaces; none of which is conducive to high quality lessons.
In addition to the above, the area set aside for dining in the academy is small and as such this spills over into the School Hall and the Small Hall. In 2012 the Pupil premium percentage at Graham school was 16%, this has risen to 42% in 2019 – this has increased significantly the number of children wishing to access to the Dining Hall. The academy has attempted to address this lack of enough space by introducing a split lunch that takes place over a longer period of time of 90 minutes. This involves staggering lunch, so around half of students have a 30 minute lunch within their allocated time, whilst the remaining students are still in lessons. Lunch rolls through in this way, to ensure that all students are served promptly and can be seated, and eat in a calm, civilised manner for the remainder of the lunchtime, and we have ensured the purchase of additional furniture to facilitate this. Our circulation space is limited due to the original building design, with all pupils accessing the dining hall in particular from one narrow intersection made up of a convergence of three routes, creating a potential confluence of nearly 1000 students at break time – if the school fulfilled the current PAN this would increase by a further 450 students, a nearly 50% increase. Due to the “add on” nature of the design over the last 48 years, whereby extra blocks have been added according to demand, transition between spaces requires travel inside and outside. The journey from English (main block) to Humanities (new block) involves travel of over 100m and includes two stairwells for instance. Both of these situations create significant tensions in regards to safety when volumes of pupils become high. In short, there is simply not enough space in the academy to accommodate the total PAN at 1450 (290 per year) at Graham School.
Specifics of the Proposal
Graham School, Hope Learning Trust, proposes to reduce the published admission number of the academy from 290 to 210 with effect from September 2021.
This means that the number of places available for children in Year 7 in 2021 – and all subsequent Year 7 cohorts – will be 210. For children who already have a place at the school in other year groups there will be no change; the admission number for current Year 7 is 290 and for all other years remains at 270.
The capacity of the school building is the sole factor in deciding to consult on this proposal.
Comments are sought only in relation to the proposed change of published admission number and not any other aspect of the admissions arrangements.
Graham School, Hope Learning Trust follows the North Yorkshire County Council Local Authority Agreed School Admissions Arrangements and will continue to do so. The latest copy of this document is available on the academy website. We will follow any dates published by the local authority for 2021-2022.
How to Respond
This consultation will run from 04 November 2019 to 16 December 2019 and you are invited to submit comments in writing about the proposal above to: Liz Andrews Wilson, Executive Assistant, Hope Learning Trust, Rawcliffe Drive, Clifton, York, YO30, 6ZS. Please send any comments by 16 December 2019.
Following the consultation period the Academy Trustboard will consider any comments received and how to proceed. Admission arrangements for 2021 will be determined by 28 February 2020 and any subsequent objections would need to be made to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator.
Hope Learning Trust