Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

More than 70 per cent of Newport primary schools oversubscribed, FOI request show

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

More than 70% of Newport’s primary schools are oversubscribed, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pillgwenlly Primary school is over ‘official capacity’ by 79 pupils attending and St. Andrew’s Primary is just behind it, with 72 more pupils than its 630 recommended amount. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

School placements were described as a “crisis” by Conservative councillor William Routley at a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, April 25. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The FOI request revealed 31 out of 44 primary schools were over capacity. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At the meeting, Cllr Routley questioned the cabinet member for education and asked: “How are you ensuring that new housing projects are not exacerbating the problem and how will your administration address the emotional distress that parents are suffering, with a high number of application rejections?” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Labour councillor Deb Davies, who is responsible for education, said there was “overall sufficiency of placements” across the city. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Davies added: “The council continues to fulfil its legal duty in relation to statutory schooling. However, it’s inevitable that this doesn’t always correlate with parental preference.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The FOI request, which was submitted by Conservative campaigner Michael Enea, also found that three out of nine comprehensive schools are also over capacity – Caerleon Comprehensive School (+9), The John Frost School (+38), St Joseph’s Roman Catholic School (+50). ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Routley, who represents Allt-yr-yn, said planned housing developments in Newport would put an additional strain on school placements. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He added: “These statistics are deeply concerning.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Davies said projected demand continues to be monitored by the council, as the admissions authority for schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The FOI also revealed that 824 pupils were rejected by Newport schools in 2022/23. This included 209 primary school rejections, 19 special school rejections, and 596 comprehensive school rejections. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Enea, a resident of St. Julian’s, said: “Any school application that is refused can be deeply emotionally stressful for parents. A total of 805 refusals across both the Primary and Secondary networks is a big concern and must be questioned. It’s right that this should be scrutinised. It can’t be simply brushed under the carpet.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Davies, who represents , said: “Parents are always encouraged to include multiple preferences when making applications to increase their probability of receiving an offer they are satisfied with. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The schools admissions team will continue to work with families – they always work with families without a current offer – to secure an alternative school placement for their children, and they always support them throughout this process.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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