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Greens call on the Labour council to plan for school funding

Surplus school places in the coming years will place huge pressures on school budgets, Greens say

Green Councillors have today requested the Labour Council looks long term at the declining numbers of primary school pupils predicted in the city.

The council estimates that there will be a surplus of 600 reception class places across the city in September 2022, if a substantial reduction in the current number of classes is not made. This, Greens  say, will put extra pressure on school budgets.

Green councillors made their request in an amendment to a report to today’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, which recommends reductions to Pupil Admission Numbers (PAN) at Mile Oak Primary, Hangleton Primary, West Hove Infant School and Hove Junior School.

The reductions in PAN proposed at today’s committee represent just under 100 places, which means further action will need to be taken to address the anticipated reduction in the number of applications for primary school places.

Greens have also urged the council to ensure it looks at the impact of any future surplus in places at the city’s secondary schools, to ensure the council is prepared. 

Councillor Elaine Hills, who put forward the proposals, said:

“Unless the council takes action, there will be a large number of unfilled places at primary schools in the coming school year.

“This surplus will put huge pressure on school budgets. If schools cannot fill their classes, they will struggle to provide adequate resources, due to funding being allocated based purely on pupil numbers.

“Currently, schools that don’t meet their PAN still need to provide another teacher, if the number of children in a class exceeds 30 – even just by one pupil. Ultimately, it’s the children that suffer.”

Councillor Sarah Nield, a member of the School Organisation Working Group added:

“We have made some difficult changes to the September 2021 admission numbers today, but this will not solve the problem. We need to look at a long-term strategy for supporting our schools through their potential incoming budget crisis.”

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