Date Published: 13 September 2016
Rutland County Council will consider part-funding a new primary school in Oakham to create more pupil places in the county.
The decision regarding support for Barleythorpe Primary Free School Bid was taken at Full Council on Monday 12th September as part of long-term planning work to ensure there are enough school places in Rutland to meet future demand.
Councillors approved a number of recommendations around pupil place planning at the meeting, including, in principle, allocating Basic Needs Funding to support the creation of a new free school to serve the Oakham area. A final decision will be subject to further discussion and a number of conditions.
“The Council has a duty to ensure there are sufficient school places for our young people. We currently have enough capacity across the county but parental choice is restricted in Oakham and Uppingham and a complicated and expensive transport network would be required to utilise some of our outlying schools with spare capacity. As our own county requirements expand, we will also need to consider and limit the impact of large numbers of pupils attending Rutland schools from neighbouring areas. We have been planning for some time to try and predict where and when demand for pupil places will exceed the supply. After considering several options, building a new future-proof primary school in Oakham remains our best long-term solution to meet the education needs of Rutland children. The Council is now considering what level of support it can give the Barleythorpe free school bid, with a final decision subject to several conditions, including the school’s own financial contribution, timing and the number of additional places required.”
Councillor David Wilby, Portfolio holder for Education and Lifelong Learning
The consultation process around a new primary school for Oakham was approved in March 2015, leading to a request for the Council to support a new 210 place primary school at the Catmose Campus site. £400k funding was also released to help existing primary schools expand to meet short-term demand for places.
Councillors at Monday’s meeting agreed that officers and the portfolio holder for education should continue to work with Rutland schools, trusts and federations to review the impact of out of county pupils on local schools.
They also agreed that, starting in 2017, an annual report will set out how the Council plans to provide sufficient schools places in Rutland based on a 15 year projection. There will also be further analysis of special educational needs provision across the County, a review of the impact of MOD developments on schools and a review of the medium/long term provision of secondary capacity in Oakham.