Two Lewes schools to reduce official pupil numbers

Two Lewes schools are set to reduce the number of new pupils they take on each year.

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 12:16 pm

On Monday (February 22), Cllr Bob Standley, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for education, signed off on proposals to change the admissions arrangements of Wallands Community Primary School and Southover CE Primary School.

Both schools are to expected to reduce the maximum number of pupils to be admitted into each year group, known as their Published Admissions Number (PAN). Under the changes Wallands is to reduce its PAN from 60 to 30, while Southover is to reduce its share from 60 to 45.

According to the county council, the move comes after the schools’ headteachers raised concerns about falling numbers over the past few years. 

Southover School, Lewes SUS-181121-213951008
Southover School, Lewes SUS-181121-213951008

They say this has made the current structure 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.

In a report to Cllr Standley, a council officer said: “Reducing the PANs as set out above would address the number of surplus places in the Lewes area while retaining the flexibility to restore the PAN at either or both schools should the need arise, given that the accommodation at the schools will still be on site.

“One response to the consultation was received expressing concern about sufficiency of school places, but the PAN can be increased without  consultation, so the recommendation is that this change should go ahead as it can be easily reversed.”

At the same meeting, Cllr Standley also approved plans to increase the PAN of Chailey School from 162 to 174.

Wallands school, Lewes SUS-190320-233944008

The council says this was to reflect the increased demand for places at the school, particularly from residents of the new estates to the south of Haywards Heath and to the east of Burgess Hill, parts of which fall within East Sussex. 

Officers said this can be achieved within the school’s existing accommodation and organisational structure and without detriment to other East Sussex schools.

The changes will first come into effect during the 2022/23 school year.

Any objection to these arrangements can then be made to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator until May 15.