The following is a precis of the objection regarding school evidence sent to the council by HAG on your behalf (full document with tables available on the portal)
Objection comment on outline planning application reference 17/04923/OUTMAJ – specifically relating to the Village School.
Throughout the last year the village school has been consistent in its message regarding its strategy re size/pupil numbers/building/ethos. The school does not support further mass housing development in and around the village. This has been shared with potential developers, HBC councilors, HBC planning department, NYCC Education Department in various written communications and during meetings. The aim of this document is to once again summarise key points from these various communications and also consider potential pupil numbers that could be generated by approved planning applications in the process of being built and planning applications currently awaiting decisions by HBC i.e. the cumulative impact. Based on a ratio of 1 primary school pupil from every 4th dwelling (NYCC standard) our analysis suggests a potential shortfall of 74 places by 2022/23. Applying a more realistic ratio for developments focusing on 4 and 5-bedroom dwellings [basis actual occupation ratios Grange Park] will increase this shortfall further.
- Located on Church Lane, opposite the village green, Hampsthwaite Church of England Primary School has been in existence since 1860. In 2014 it became part of the Yorkshire Causeway Trust. In its most recent OFSTED review it was rated as outstanding.
- The current school structure and pupil numbers (January 2018) are:
Nursery – 3 – 4 years 31 pupils
Reception & 1(part) 4 – 5 years 28 pupils
Year 1(part) & 2 5 – 7 years 30 pupils
Years 3 & 4 7 – 9 years 30 pupils
Years 5 & 6 9 – 11 years 28 pupils
- The school does not have sufficient area to expand. It is landlocked. Building on existing land would result in the loss of valuable playground. Increased pupil numbers using any reduced playground effectively reduces playground space per pupil even further. This is contrary to Government guidance on outdoor space and activity for children.
- The school are currently applying for planning permission for a new building. The intention is this building will accommodate Nursery/Reception age children. It is MISLEADING of NYCC to say this will allow larger class sizes for older children. The new extension is being built for the purpose of dealing with existing increased class sizes.
- Whilst the school has a published admission number (PAN) of 15, over the last few years it has been asked by NYCC to take much high numbers of children. Year 2 currently has 22 children, almost 50% over PAN. The Reception and partial Year 1 class (Team Dragon) is at 30, the legal limit for Key Stage 1 (KS1) classes. As these 2 classes combine the resultant class size is currently forecast to be 40 i.e. above the KS1 limit, not teachable and detrimental to the children. The new building will allow the school to split this group of 40 as it moves through the school. To reiterate the new building has not been planned to deal with any future expansion, it is dealing with the already over PAN classes the school already has.
- The current proposed new building is being partially funded by section 106 monies from the Grange Park This funding is significantly inadequate to fund the building of the new classroom. In addition, the running costs and staffing for this new classroom receive no section 106 monies. Consequently, the school has been pushed into a budget deficit position despite valuable teaching assistance support being cut.
- The assertion made by the developer behind 17/05580 Rowden Lane that further section 106 will fund additional developments at the school is also Section 106 funding comes in a piecemeal fashion rather than in a meaningful lump sum. The new classroom has to be up and running by September 2018 to accommodate existing pupil numbers as they move through the school.
- The school’s success owes much to the nature of the school as a village school – small enough for all staff to know every child in the school; small enough for the children to feel they are a “family”, and for them to look out for each other. The schools mixed year group classes enable the children to mix with different peer groups as they move through the school and make friends across the age groups: having children remaining in each class for more than a year gives continuity in the classes, builds strong relationships between teachers and children and ensure continuity of learning.
- The nature of the school itself as a village school is also linked to its physical size, its location at the centre of the village, and being in the long-established building.
- The village community has historically been a farming community and this continues to be the case today. Should further houses be built within the School’s catchment area, it runs the risk of not being able to accept the children of rural farming families, many of whom have shaped this area for generations.
- The headteacher, staff and school governors share passionately a vision to keep the school as a successful and leading primary school whilst retaining its identity as a village school. Continual expansion of the school would undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on the children’s education and the overall success of the school.
- Planning applications either approved and currently being built or awaiting HBC decision re approval/refusal amount to 218. The assumption of 1 pupil from every 4th dwelling has been applied to calculate potential pupil numbers where there is no published section 106 or where the size of development has been amended. It suggests a SHORTFALL OF 74 PLACES in 2022/23 if all developments are approved.
- HAG questions the ratio of 1 primary school pupil from every 4th As at January 2018 we are informed that 9 of the 56 houses on Grange Park are currently occupied. These 9 homes alone have 8 children under the age of 11 as residents, 5 being of preschool age, 1 already a pupil at the village school, 2 others currently continuing their schooling in Harrogate. There are a large number of 4 and 5-bedroom houses in the mix of planned dwellings for the village. Such family homes are likely to generate a larger number of children hence the shortfall of Primary school places could be higher than the 87 calculated.