Issue - meetings

Growth Fund Strategic Update

Meeting: 14/10/2020 - Schools Forum (Item 11)

11 Growth Fund Strategic Update pdf icon PDF 388 KB

To receive and consider the Growth Fund Strategic Update report.


Piers Brunning, Strategy and Commissioning Places Specialist presented the Growth Fund Strategic Update report.


Some of the points made by Piers Brunning during his presentation are listed below:


·           The Growth Fund related to the planning for education up to the age of 16;

·           In planning the Growth Fund, the following factors were considered:

·           Changing local birth rates;

·           The impact of migration into the Borough (particularly into new homes);

·           The number of children moving across Borough boundaries for their education;

·           Independent education and home education were considered secondary factors.

·           Although there was no statutory need to plan future school provision, there was a statutory requirement to ensure there were sufficient school places;

·           Growth was expected around the strategic development locations;

·           The Council had adopted strategies for school places for both primary and secondary school phases;

·           The secondary strategy had identified two priorities:

·           A likely need for up to 100 additional Year 7 places from 2019/20

·           Preparatory work for 270 permanent places after 2019/20 requirement

·           The number of places which were required were impacted by cross borough movement;

·           Demand for places in the Shinfield area had grown due to the housebuilding programme, the new Alder Grove CofE School was now open;

·           Demand had also risen in Arborfield but with no need for extra capacity yet;

·           No additional capacity was required in Woodley this year;

·           In relation to the secondary allocation, the number of places on offer day differed from the number of places taken in September;

·           Matthews Green and Arborfield Primary schools would require support from the Growth Fund in the near future;

·           There was no expectation that a new secondary school would be required in the next decade.  However, there may be a need to support Year 7 growth classes;

·           The impact of the accelerated housebuilding in the Borough, in light of the National  Planning Policy needed to be considered;

·           It was the Council’s intention to provide school places near to where children lived; in order to minimise traffic congestion, minimise Council home to school transport spend and maximise the achievement of parental preferences;

·           Research suggested that if children lived within one mile of their school, they were more likely to walk to school, this changed dramatically if the distance was two miles or more.


During the discussion of the item following the comments were made:


·           Shirley Austin stated that there were currently 135 places available in Year 7 at her school and questioned the numbers in relation to the likely need for additional places in Year 7 (on page 46 of the report);

·           Piers Brunning stated that at the offer day all places were allocated, and capacity had been reached.  He stated that the numbers had since fallen back and pointed out that the Forest School only offered places for boys.  Shirley Austin stated Emmbrook and Waingels both had places for girls;

·           Piers Brunning stated that Emmbrook and Waingels were the only schools in the Borough with surplus capacity (for boys and girls) this year;

·           Paul Miller stated that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11