Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

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Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 3 - Infrastructure Requirements at Balsall Common

Representation ID: 8348

Received: 15/03/2019

Respondent: Balsall Common Primary School

Representation Summary:

The Local Governing Board of Balsall Common Primary School (BCPS) do not agree with the proposed infrastructure solution to create a new 2-form entry primary school to meet the demand for new school places. The Board feel the creation of a second 2-form entry primary school is inefficient financially and educationally detrimental. We propose relocating BCPS to a new site enabling the school to become a 5-form entry school. This would better serve the community, be financially beneficial and most importantly allow all children in Balsall Common access to the same outstanding level of education. (Business Plan attached, written in 2016, outlining case for 4 form school. Considered that with proposed development in DLP a 5 form entry school would be needed). Barratts Farm site considered suitable for new build.

Full text:

The DLP correctly identifies the need for additional schools provision at primary and secondary level. However, the Local Governing Board of Balsall Common Primary School (BCPS) do not believe that a new 2-form entry primary school represents a cost effective or educationally optimal solution to the need for additional school places. It is imperative to have equitable delivery of education in the local area: Children must be afforded the same high standard of education, the same facilities and opportunities. We must not create a 2-tier system as a result of the DLP. In order to achieve this, we propose expanding the "outstanding" rated BCPS to a 5-form entry school on a new site at Barratts Farm. This solution is financially beneficial to the Local Authority and not educationally detrimental as all children would be able to access the same "outstanding" level of education.

The school leadership team have undertaken an assessment, in conjunction with many of the interested parties, to develop a workable plan to deliver a 5-form entry primary school. It would be necessary to relocate the school to a larger site. We propose the best location would be Barratts Farm. This site is not prime land for residential development due to its proximity to HS2. A well-considered 2 storey development would provide the required amount of "free space" for pupils at a 5-form entry school, with the added benefits of a similar footprint to a 2-form entry school as well as providing an enhanced sound and visual barrier to the HS2 work. The current BCPS site is prime real estate and the monies raised from the sale would contribute to the development cost of a new school. It would also benefit residents by relieving the increased traffic and parking pressure at drop off and pick up times. There could also be consideration given to using some of the land to develop a separate 6th form centre for Heart of England School, thereby relieving some of the capacity pressure that already exists, and which will inevitably increase with the new housing.

Crucially a 5-form entry school delivers significant efficiencies. 2 primary schools require 2 head teachers, 2 sets of teaching staff, 2 sets of support staff as well as the running costs of 2 buildings. BCPS is an exceptionally well-run school. The on-site facilities afford children weekly swimming classes from nursery age, a newly developed forest school curriculum is enabling children to learn in new ways. Two schools in Balsall Common is not cost effective. BCPS is 106-year-old and is consequently becoming expensive to maintain. In over a century there have only been 5 head teachers (including the current headteacher, GT Burgess). Staff retention is well above average and this is reflected in the outstanding quality of education. It would be unrealistic for a new school without the facilities and without BCPS's pedigree to compete. It would be second choice. The second primary school would be being set up to fail, a situation our proposals would avoid.

Currently, there are few modern amenities for the residents. Part of the scoping exercise undertaken by the BCPS Leadership team over several years has been to consider how the school can further contribute to the Balsall Common community. One compelling concept was to include a state-of-the-art leisure centre as part of the school build. This would include a pool, gym, studios and a coffee shop, accessible to both the pupils and local people. Careful design, timetabling and flexible opening hours would allow pupils to continue to benefit from the swimming and sport provision (which is already part of the BCPS curriculum) as well as providing these facilities to the local community. With the current uncertainty around the pool at Kenilworth, the availability and accessibility of swimming pools is becoming increasingly important. The leisure centre would also provide a good, sustainable income stream for BCPS whilst building of the vision of the school playing a greater role in the community.

Attached is a business plan written in 2016 providing further detail on the proposal outlined above. At this time, it was believed that a 4-form entry school would be sufficient to meet local need. However, as per the DLP, it is now apparent that the Balsall Common area requires 5-forms at primary level. We firmly believe a single 5-form entry primary school would best serve the needs of the Balsall Common community.

Object

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 3 - Infrastructure Requirements at Balsall Common

Representation ID: 8350

Received: 15/03/2019

Respondent: Balsall Common Primary School

Representation Summary:

The Local Governing Board of Balsall Common Primary School (BCPS) do not agree with the proposed infrastructure solution to create a new 2-form entry primary school to meet the demand for new school places. The Board feel the creation of a second 2-form entry primary school is inefficient financially and educationally detrimental. We propose relocating BCPS to a new site enabling the school to become a 5-form entry school. This would better serve the community, be financially beneficial and most importantly allow all children in Balsall Common access to the same outstanding level of education.(Business Plan attached, written in 2016, outlining case for 4 form school. Considered that with proposed development in DLP a 5 form entry school would be needed). Barratts Farm site considered suitable for new build.

Full text:

The DLP correctly identifies the need for additional schools provision at primary and secondary level. However, the Local Governing Board of Balsall Common Primary School (BCPS) do not believe that a new 2-form entry primary school represents a cost effective or educationally optimal solution to the need for additional school places. It is imperative to have equitable delivery of education in the local area: Children must be afforded the same high standard of education, the same facilities and opportunities. We must not create a 2-tier system as a result of the DLP. In order to achieve this, we propose expanding the "outstanding" rated BCPS to a 5-form entry school on a new site at Barratts Farm. This solution is financially beneficial to the Local Authority and not educationally detrimental as all children would be able to access the same "outstanding" level of education.

The school leadership team have undertaken an assessment, in conjunction with many of the interested parties, to develop a workable plan to deliver a 5-form entry primary school. It would be necessary to relocate the school to a larger site. We propose the best location would be Barratts Farm. This site is not prime land for residential development due to its proximity to HS2. A well-considered 2 storey development would provide the required amount of "free space" for pupils at a 5-form entry school, with the added benefits of a similar footprint to a 2-form entry school as well as providing an enhanced sound and visual barrier to the HS2 work. The current BCPS site is prime real estate and the monies raised from the sale would contribute to the development cost of a new school. It would also benefit residents by relieving the increased traffic and parking pressure at drop off and pick up times. There could also be consideration given to using some of the land to develop a separate 6th form centre for Heart of England School, thereby relieving some of the capacity pressure that already exists, and which will inevitably increase with the new housing.

Crucially a 5-form entry school delivers significant efficiencies. 2 primary schools require 2 head teachers, 2 sets of teaching staff, 2 sets of support staff as well as the running costs of 2 buildings. BCPS is an exceptionally well-run school. The on-site facilities afford children weekly swimming classes from nursery age, a newly developed forest school curriculum is enabling children to learn in new ways. Two schools in Balsall Common is not cost effective. BCPS is 106-year-old and is consequently becoming expensive to maintain. In over a century there have only been 5 head teachers (including the current headteacher, GT Burgess). Staff retention is well above average and this is reflected in the outstanding quality of education. It would be unrealistic for a new school without the facilities and without BCPS's pedigree to compete. It would be second choice. The second primary school would be being set up to fail, a situation our proposals would avoid.

Currently, there are few modern amenities for the residents. Part of the scoping exercise undertaken by the BCPS Leadership team over several years has been to consider how the school can further contribute to the Balsall Common community. One compelling concept was to include a state-of-the-art leisure centre as part of the school build. This would include a pool, gym, studios and a coffee shop, accessible to both the pupils and local people. Careful design, timetabling and flexible opening hours would allow pupils to continue to benefit from the swimming and sport provision (which is already part of the BCPS curriculum) as well as providing these facilities to the local community. With the current uncertainty around the pool at Kenilworth, the availability and accessibility of swimming pools is becoming increasingly important. The leisure centre would also provide a good, sustainable income stream for BCPS whilst building of the vision of the school playing a greater role in the community.

Attached is a business plan written in 2016 providing further detail on the proposal outlined above. At this time, it was believed that a 4-form entry school would be sufficient to meet local need. However, as per the DLP, it is now apparent that the Balsall Common area requires 5-forms at primary level. We firmly believe a single 5-form entry primary school would best serve the needs of the Balsall Common community.

Support

Draft Local Plan - Supplementary Consultation

Question 4 - Site 1 - Barratts Farm

Representation ID: 8356

Received: 15/03/2019

Respondent: Balsall Common Primary School

Representation Summary:

The Local Governing Body of Balsall Common Primary School (BCPS) believes as per our representation in Question 3 regarding infrastructure requirements for Balsall Common, would be sufficient to accommodate a 5 form, multi-story primary. The proposal from the Leadership Team at BCPS is to build up, rather than out retaining the same footprint as a 2-form entry school. This would further enhance the sound and visual barrier against HS2.

Full text:

The Local Governing Body of Balsall Common Primary School (BCPS) believes as per our representation in Question 3 regarding infrastructure requirements for Balsall Common, would be sufficient to accommodate a 5 form, multi-story primary. The proposal from the Leadership Team at BCPS is to build up, rather than out retaining the same footprint as a 2-form entry school. This would further enhance the sound and visual barrier against HS2.

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