School takes on extra children

A MANGOTSFIELD school which had been due to close one of its reception classes this year has reversed the decision.

Barley Close Primary School has agreed to pause its decision to cut its annual admission number from 60 to 30 in September, to help South Gloucestershire Council accommodate some of the 59 children who have not been found a place at any of their families’ three choices of school this year.

Many of those children are from Lyde Green, which has a heavily oversubscribed primary school.

The new estate was due to have a new primary school open in Honeysuckle Road last September, running in tandem with the existing school in Willowherb Road.

But work has yet to start on the new site, which is also earmarked for a secondary school, so the growing population does not have enough places to serve it.

Many parents from Lyde Green were offered places at Barley Close last September, but the school had already decided to reduce admissions from 60 to 30 this year, to cut its overall capacity in the long term from 420 to 210.

At the time the decision was taken early last year there were 289 pupils on the roll, an average of 41 children in each year group.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “Barley Close Primary School Governing Body had taken the decision to reduce its admission number to 30.

“However, they agreed to pause implementation of the change and offered up to 60 reception places for the academic year 2023-24 to ensure that there are sufficient primary school places available in the area.”

Overall, the council says more children have been offered places at their first-choice schools this year than last, despite more families applying.

A total of 3,254 applications were made for places – 26 more than last year.

First preference offers were made to 2,991 or 92% of them – up from 90% last year.

A further 159 children were offered a place at their family’s second-choice school (5%), down from 6% last year, while 31 (1%) were offered their third choice, the same as last year.

The 59 or 2% of pupils who did not receive one of their three preferences was down from 87 (3%) last year. A small number of other pupils accepted places elsewhere.

Lyde Green Primary School issued a statement saying it had refused places to 33 children.