Admissions data reveals empty places and waiting lists for Norfolk primary schools new intake
PUBLISHED: 08:51 25 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 25 April 2018
At least half of reception places for this year’s intake are empty at more than 10pc of the county’s schools.
According to Norfolk County Council admissions data, 37 of the county’s 311 primary and infant schools have at least 50pc of their places empty - just under 12pc.
It includes St Clement’s Hill Primary Academy, which is due to open in the north of Norwich this autumn. The data shows that, so far, it has 22 of its 60 places filled, leaving 63pc empty.
Valerie Moore, chief executive of the Right for Success Trust, which runs the school, said: “We currently have pupils registered for one form, which is encouraging.
‘‘Inevitably with a brand new school the uptake is usually a little slower as parents are keen to see the finished building. However, we are currently still advertising to remind parents they have until June to make choices, and we’re confident this will bring in more applications to fill the other form.”
She said they were confident the school would be a success and, like the trust’s other schools, would become “valuable parts of the community”.
Around the county, there were just under 10,500 places available for children starting reception in September. Of those, roughly 85pc were filled. Thirty-seven of the county’s schools had 10 or fewer places available in their reception classes.
Norfolk is home to several small schools, generally in rural areas, which can have year groups with as few as one or two pupils.
With funding for schools largely based on pupil numbers, concerns have been raised over viability of small schools, with many forging federations or partnerships with nearby schools. At Weasenham Primary, in west Norfolk, just one of its seven reception places was filled, and at Marsham Primary, three of its possible five were. At Cawston Primary School, five of its 25 places were filled, leaving 20, 83pc, empty.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust, which runs the school, said it was a good school, which had recently been praised by Ofsted.
They said: “Pupil numbers fluctuate every year at every school across the country and this can be for a number of reasons, such as local birth rates or new housing in the local area.”
A11 corridor growth
The major growth in the A11 corridor saw many of its schools oversubscribed.
Drake Primary School, in Thetford, filled its 60 places and had to refuse another 34 parents, the figures show. And at Ashleigh Primary School, in Wymondham, which also had 60 places, 32 were refused.
Nearby Browick Road Primary also filled its 30 places and was oversubscribed by another 22.
Thetford is due to welcome 5,000 homes over the coming years, with roughly 2,200 expected in Wymondham. Both towns have undergone school reorganisations by the county council.
Sam Nixon, head at Ashleigh, said they had been similarly oversubscribed last year. He said along with parental choice, based on a range of factors, schools in the A11 corridor were affected by its “huge growth”.
Attleborough Primary filled its 60 places and refused two applications, while Hethersett Woodside Infant took an extra 12 pupils on top of its initial planned 60.