I am very pleased that Essex County Council has reached agreement with Ormiston Rivers Academy and William de Ferrers Academy that they will expand their intakes so that there are places available this year for all children in the Dengie Peninsula who have applied. Confirmation of places will be given on 17th March.
This will come as a huge relief to parents who were understandably distressed at the suggestion that their children would have to travel considerable distances each day to get to school. I am grateful to Essex County Council for moving quickly to resolve the problem.
Below is the Statement by Essex County Council:
Secondary School Places across Ormiston Rivers and William de Ferrers secondary schools
Essex County Council is aware that a number of pupils who live the Dengie peninsula and surrounding areas were allocated a school place some distance from their home. The reason for this was due to a number of factors, but we are pleased to announce that both Ormiston Rivers Academy and William de Ferrers have agreed to offer additional places. We will be in touch shortly with the parents of those pupils that are affected and absolutely appreciate the importance of this issue.
Comments have been raised about ECC’s forecasting to ensure sufficient school places across the area for September 2021. In response to those comments we would like to explain the methodology we use for school place planning. Every Year we publish the ’10 Year Plan – Meeting the need for school places’. This document outlines how school place planning works and what expansion projects are in the pipeline.
Schools are grouped into geographical planning groups. In respect of this part of Essex, Ormiston Rivers Academy and William de Ferrers schools are allocated into one single planning group.
Pupil forecasts are produced for each planning group and the forecast data for this planning group did indicate a potential deficit of places for September 2021. Where the forecasts indicate a shortage of places ECC complete further, detailed, analysis of the situation once all school applications for the year have been received to determine if further action is required. This data is the most up to date information available as it is based on actual applications as opposed to forecasts which are based on a number of factors, including predictions regarding timing of new housing and parental preferences both of which can change over time.
The analysis of the application data, for September 2021, indicated that the total number of places available in year 7, 405 across the two schools, would be sufficient to meet the number of applications received. This view was based on a very similar number of applications being received for the two schools for September 2020 and there being more than sufficient places available for that year. So, whilst the forecast data indicated a shortage of places, the application data suggested no increase in places was required.
We will be undertaking further analysis on the data to establish why the situation is substantially different this year compared to last year, which has created the current issue.
We are fully aware of the level of new housing development in the area and the impact this will have on school places. Plans are already underway to increase school capacity in the area for future years.