Sunday 21 December 2014

School place vacancies and waiting lists in Brent

School Census Day in October gives a snapshot of the current position regarding school places in Brent. The actual figures change constantly as places are taken up. Brent Council adopted a School Places Strategy recently that includes the aim of having spare capacity in each school to aid parent choice.

This has an impact on schools faced with competition from a populat neighbour.  Pupil 'churn' occurs when a child leaves a school to take up a place at their preferred school where had been on the waiting list. These children are often replaced by children new to the country, sometimes without previous schooling, who present a challenge to teachers.  Such children usually do extremely well in the long-term, aided by the expertise Brent teachers have developed in this area, but as one would expect there is a short-term impact on SAT results. Continuous 'churn' can have a destabilising effect.

Ark Academy Primary had 208 children on its Reception waiting list on Census Day. I predicted that all-though schools would have an impact on neighbouring primary schools when Ark was set up - parents are effectively choosing their child's secondary school when their children are four years old. It is of course easier for large families if all their children are in one school.

However Ark's waiting list is sharply reduced to 21 in Year 1 and 10 in Year 2 when children settle into their schools.

Recently expanded Harlesden Primary and Strathcona - Roe Green, had vacancies in their Reception classes on Census Day as did Carlton Vale Infants and Furness Primary.  Byron Court, which is currently consulting on expansion to five forms of entry had 7 reception vacancies but a waiting list of 18.

Across the borough and age groups there were 153 pupils not in school with the highest number in Alperton ward (33) and Wembley Central (21) with Year 6 children the largest group in each.

The secondary data shows a sharp divide between schools

The waiting lists appear high but these are children in school who would prefer another - not children out of school. In fact the ward data shows no Year 7 child out of school and  only 2 year 8s.

Three secondary free schools were due to open in Brent in September but only Michaela managed to do so. The DfE estates department failed to find Gladstone and Gateway sites but the data shows that they were not necessary in terms of pupils numbers although they may be in terms of parental choice, however there is no clear data on that.

Gladstone School accounts to the end of December 2013 showed an income of £190,056, expenditure of £77,218 and a carry forward of £112,838 - for a school with no pupils or premises.

The full details are in the Excel spreadsheet below:


Anonymous said...

All through school are a way of selecting children from a very young age.

The transition to year 7 should be via ballot when a school is set up as an All Through.

Ark can boast about high parent choice, but the cards are in Arks favour.

Has anyone seen the PFI agreement when Ark was originally set up.

I bet the hedge funds behind Ark put in the money, but are now being paid a nice yearly sum. Be interesting to know more as PFI contracts are at centre of hospital finances blowing up.

Anonymous said...

Interesting data. I am shocked to see Michaela is full.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to note the £77k of taxpayers' money Gladstone managed to blow whilst educating 0 children does not include the head's salary. He was hired 1/1/14 and the TES advert advertised up to L35 and more for an exceptional candidate. L35 is 93k in real money. The candidate they were looking for, by the way, would be good at "fostering the mind-set and confidence more privileged children possess from birth." (Pass the bucket...I'm going to be sick).

We can expect next year's accounts to be yet more money blown on two self-interested parents trying to peddle their own home-baked curriculum.

Hopefully Gladstone School will never open.