Whether you are a pupil, parent or teacher the issue of primary and secondary school oversubscription is difficult to avoid and can lead to uncertainty, anxiety and disappointment for all concerned. Seabrook Primary School was recently revealed as one of the most over-subscribed schools in the county of Kent, receiving 76 applications for just 15 places. Parents applying for a place had to live just 0.655 miles away. This was not an isolated case. Children had to live no more than 0.059 miles away to get a place at St Ethelbert’s Catholic Primary School, Ramsgate and 0.128 miles for St Eanswythe’s, Folkestone.
Elizabeth Carter, head teacher of Seabrook Primary School, summed up their predicament.
‘Local children should go to their local school… We are doing a great job and providing children with a great education, but there is no capacity or budget to expand. Local children should go to their local school, but the building is limiting. We would love to take more children as we are just a really happy place to be.’
Nigel Deacon, Sales Director at Streetspace Urban Structures, comments on the issue of oversubscription and an affordable solution that uses innovative design to generate more places.
A blessing and a curse
‘Popularity can be a blessing and a curse. This is nowhere more apparent than education. An outstanding school, guaranteeing a great learning environment, will be inundated with applications; far outweighing the coveted places they have available. Schools have to make tough decisions and apply ever more complex criteria; creating uncertainty and inevitable widespread disappointment. This can seem particularly unjust when a child’s ability comes second to their geographical location. ‘
‘How many times do you hear of children living in the same street who narrowly meet or unfortunately miss the school’s catchment-area criteria. Yes, parents can appeal, decisions can be reversed and places unexpectedly made available but what toll does this take on those concerned?’
‘While the problem of oversubscription is never going to disappear the impact could be significantly lessened if only schools unlocked the premium space they do have.’
‘I frequently see popular schools constrained by antiquated buildings that are prohibitively expensive to extend or impractical to grow using traditional construction techniques. And yet they will be adjacent to large outdoor play areas or walkthroughs that are underused and could offer an affordable solution to an increased demand for places.’
Hugely beneficial ‘place creation’ projects can now be realised with no impact on a schools budget if capital funding can be sourced from organisations like the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). We recently posted on the CIF funding which can offer exactly that.
Increased student numbers
This was the case with The Compton School, nationally recognised as one of the best schools in the country, who successfully won CIF funding for the creation of additional dining space required to accommodate increased student numbers.
Optimum covered area
We were delighted when they selected Streetspace Urban Structures to deliver the project. Working closely with the needs and budget of the school, we designed the optimum covered area; installing the groundworks, canopy structure & roof during the summer holidays.
Our innovative and bespoke Triton maxx™ Steel frame canopy created the much needed covered space and the UV-protected 16mm triplewall polycarbonate glazing panels, manufactured from damage resistant polycarbonate, provided a welcome translucency, offering soft diffused natural light.
Streetspace Urban Structures are here to help create more premium space at your school so you can offer more places to local children. We can provide our expertise to assist in developing and refining ideas and enhancing your funding applications and with decades of experience we will guarantee delivery of a canopy project that will enhance your offer. Get in contact today and we will be happy to discuss a brighter future with all aspects of your project covered.