Lewes school set to further reduce its official intake

A Lewes school could be set to reduce its new intake for a second year running. 

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 2:04 pm
Southover CoE Primary School (Photo by Google Maps Street View)

On Monday (October 18), East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education Bob Standley agreed for consultation to take place on changes to admission arrangements at Southover CE Primary School. 

The proposed change would see the school reduce the maximum number of pupils it would take in each year, known as its Published Admissions Number (PAN), from 45 to 30 in the 2023/24 school year.

A similar change was agreed last year, which saw both Southover and Wallands Community Primary School reduce their PANs in light of falling pupil numbers in Lewes.

Under those previous changes Wallands reduced its PAN from 60 to 30, while Southover reduced its share from 60 to 45. Those changes are set to come into effect during the 2022/23 school year.

The latest change, if approved after consultation, would come into effect in the 2023/24 school year. 

At that time the schools’ headteachers raised concerns about falling numbers over the past few years as a result of falling birth rates in the town.

They say this has made its practice of admitting two classes each year unsustainable and — with a large proportion of school income awarded on a per pupil basis — could leave them struggling to cover their costs.

While Cllr Standley agreed for the proposals to go ahead to consultation, he also said that the PAN could be reversed in future should demand increase.

During the same meeting Cllr Standley also agreed to consult on plans to increase the PAN at Willingdon Primary School from 200 to 210. This would also come into effect in the 2023/24 school year.

He also agreed for the council to also consult on its wider admissions arrangements, although no other alterations are proposed beyond a minor change to reflect a new format for the council’s website.

The results of the consultation will be reported back to Cllr Standley in January 2022 , with the final admission arrangements to be determined by 28 February 2022.