Changes to schools catchments recommended following consultation

Changes are set to be made to some Telford and Wrekin schools’ catchment areas following a consultation on proposed changes.

Changes to schools catchments recommended following consultation

The Council’s cabinet is being recommended to make the changes to six schools’ catchment areas coming into effect from September 2018. These are needed to take account of growth in the borough’s population, particularly in the Newport area.

This would also mean that the new area would be in line with national guidance that councils should offer school places within three miles of a child’s home where possible.

Parents would still be able to apply for places at a school outside of their catchment area, as they can now.

Also if a child has a sibling at an out-of-catchment area school, while not guaranteeing a place, this would increase their chances of securing a place at this school.

The changes would make catchment area criteria consistent across the borough. The following changes are recommended for approval:

• Lilleshall Primary School – catchment area priority for Lilleshall residents

• Muxton Primary School – catchment area priority for Muxton residents

• Lawley residents would have a shared catchment with shared attendance area with the Ercall Wood technology College Telford Langley School as both are within three miles

• Burton Borough’s catchment area would be redrawn to include Newport, rural villages around Newport including Lilleshall

• The newly built Telford Priory School’s catchment area would include Muxton. This school opened in autumn 2015.

More than 300 people responded to the consultation.

Overall, most people backed the changes for Lilleshall and Muxton primaries and for Lawley residents.

The consultation also saw many comments from residents in Muxton against changes. The cabinet is being asked to consider a number of measures to address concerns expressed by these residents. These include:

• Distance from Muxton to Telford Priory – the change would bring this into line with national guidance and as for all other secondary school children in the borough. The No 5 bus also runs from Muxton to very close to the Telford Priory school with timetabled buses that fit with the start and end of the school day.

• Safety of the walking route from Muxton to Telford Priory - the Council has assessed this and believes it to be safe but will look at making further improvements to cycling and walking routes

• Subsidised transport – Muxton pupils who are at Burton Borough before any change would come into effect in September 2018 would continue to receive subsidised transport to Burton Borough until they finish at the school.

• Parental choice – current year 6 pupils would not be affected by any changes, while for children starting secondary school in September 2018, parents can continue to apply for schools outside their catchment area. Any child with a sibling at Burton Borough would be given a higher priority for a place there.

• Smooth transition – Telford Priory School has committed to working with pupils, parents and the community of Muxton Primary well in advance of to any change being adopted.

Cllr Gilly Reynolds, cabinet member for education, employment and regeneration, said: “These changes would see a consistent approach across the borough in line with national guidance.

“The planned changes would see more people come into the catchment of the new Telford Priory School which has excellent facilities. This school is now part of the Communities Academies Trust (CAT) which also runs three other academies in Telford. Since it took over running these three from another academy trust, OFSTED performance has greatly improved. While Priory is a new school, we believe the CAT’s same approach will apply.

“I appreciate that some residents in Muxton have concerns. That’s why we have looked very closely at these and would seek to address these as far as possible while consistently applying the national guidance – a secondary school place for children within three miles of their home.”

The report will be considered when cabinet meets on 23 February