Campaigners are ‘delighted’ with the council’s U-turn as proposed school admission cuts in the ‘most deprived’ areas of Brighton could be scrapped
Parents and teachers behind a campaign to protect the number of primary school admissions in Brighton are ‘delighted’ after a council reversal appears to have abandoned plans to cut back.
It comes as Brighton and Hove City Council announced it is ‘considering not reducing the number of pupils in local primary schools’ who are believed to be in some of the city’s most deprived areas.
Bevendean’s mother and key campaigner Leila Erin-Jenkins, 36, said: ‘Everyone at the School Places campaign is delighted that the council has finally listened to us.
Read more: Furious parents say schools in Brighton’s most deprived areas are neglected
“We worked so hard to present our case and prove that these proposals would be detrimental to our children and our city.”
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She then thanked the parents, children, staff and governors of the seven schools that have been subject to PAN cuts – including her son Bevendean’s school – and who have supported the campaign to challenge the cuts.
Leila continued: “We hope that any future proposals will consider the impact on children in deprived areas and children with special educational needs and provide a much fairer solution.
“If they don’t we will be ready to campaign again and fight to stop them like we did this time.”
Brighton and Hove City Council said its Children, Young People and Skills Committee will consider a revised recommendation on this at their meeting on Monday January 31.
He said the decision comes after “extensive” consultation in November and December 2021.
Sarah Nield, chair of the board’s cross-party school organization working group, said: “We are grateful to all the governors, headteachers, families and residents who participated in our consultation and gave us their perspective. view.
“We have modified our proposals in response to these.”
The adviser continued: “We have worked hard with the schools affected by our proposals to understand what the drop in pupil numbers means for them and seek to find solutions where possible.
“A major concern is that changes at this stage would have a disproportionate impact on schools that serve some of the city’s most disadvantaged students.
“Many respondents said they want all schools in the city to play their part in reducing the total number of excess places – especially larger schools and schools in areas where there are accessible alternative schools.
“We agree – and in recent years we have tried to achieve this, precisely because larger schools are proportionally less affected by downsizing than smaller schools.
“But we were prevented from doing so by the National Schools Adjudicator, who is appointed by the government.”
She concluded: “We recognize that almost all of our schools are currently managing within existing budgets or have clear recovery plans in place.
“With that in mind, we think it’s reasonable to see how parental preferences for September admission affect things.
“But with the decline in pupil numbers continuing to be a serious issue, we will continue to speak with our family of schools about any concerns they have.”
A total of seven primary schools were included in the original PAN reduction plans.
Six of them were in the outskirts of town where there is little or no local alternative for parents and students.
Included were Bevendean, Carden, Coldean, Queen’s Park, Rudyard Kipling, Saltdean and Woodingdean Primary Schools.
Between these sites, 150 fewer primary school places were to be offered in the 2022-23 year.
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