School places at primary school in Hemel Hempstead will increase

Places at two primary schools in Hertfordshire will increase

By Deborah Price
Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 3:50 pm

The number of reception places available at two Hertfordshire primary schools is to increase.

Currently there are just 30 new reception places available at St Peter's Primary School, in St Albans.

But at a meeting of the cabinet (February 24), councillors agreed that that should DOUBLE to 60.

Primary school stock image

Councillors also agreed that the official 'published admission number' - or PAN - at Belswains Primary School, in Hemel Hempstead, should increase to 60 too.

The school currently offers up to 30 reception places. But there have already been years - including 2019 - when, in practice, they have been allowed to increase this to 60, because of local demand.

The 'publised admission number' - or PAN - will officially increase at each school from September 2021.

But under a 'local agreement' councillors heard that both schools will offer 60 new places this September (2020).

The decision to increase the PANs was taken as part of an annual review of the number of places available at all community and voluntary schools in the county.

Executive member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris said the increases from one form of entry to two at both schools reflected demographic pressures.

And he said the increases had been made possible by the construction of additional facilities.

Meanwhile at the same meeting it was also agreed that the number of reception places at Richard Whittington Primary School, in Bishop's Stortford would decrease, from 45 to 30.

The county council considered the reduction in the PAN, following a request from the school.

At the meeting of the cabinet Cllr Douris said the reduction to a single full form of entry would give better class organisation and financial stability.

However the report to the cabinet makes it clear that, if needed, the number of places at the school may be increased in the future.

"The proposed reduction in the Published Admission Number at Richard Whittington Primary School has been predicated on the school being willing to expand in the future, should it be required," it states.

"New primary provision is also proposed within the Bishop’s Stortford South development to provide local school places for the new community."

Every year the county council has to determine the 'published admission number' - that's the number of places available - at each community and voluntary school in Hertfordshire.

The report to the cabinet states: "The County Council’s existing admission arrangements work well with nearly 97 per cent of children allocated a ranked primary school in 2019 and over 93 per cent a ranked secondary school.

"Maintaining existing arrangements, with only changes to the published admission number at some primary schools, will minimise parental anxiety around school places and maximise the benefits of existing knowledge of the allocation process."