Everton Community Lower School consultation

Everton Community Lower School consultation - proposal to change age range

Consultation closed: midday on Wednesday, 1 February

Description of proposed alteration

We ran a formal consultation on proposals to change the age range of Everton Community Lower School from 3-9 years (lower school) to 3-11 years (primary school).

A final decision will be made in April and if agreed, the proposed change would be implemented in stages from September 2017.

Year 4 children would have the opportunity to move into Year 5 at the start of the new academic year, with a subsequent move into Year 6 in September 2018.

Evidence of demand for proposed alteration versus need, including results of preliminary consultation

The governing body of Everton Community Lower School carried out two studies regarding the proposed change of age range, in January / February 2016 and then in May / June 2016.

The initial study determined the understanding of the school’s current parents / carers of the two and three tier systems and asked where they believed that their children would progress to under the current three-tier system. 100% of those who responded confirmed that they were aware of the two systems and 80% wished the governing body to explore the school’s conversion from lower to primary.

The second study, which was extended to local schools, re-confirmed the result of the earlier study, with 80% of parents/carers in support of the school extending its age range to become a primary school with effect from September 2017.
As required by the Department for Education, the council consulted interested parties in order to develop this proposal for a five week period, from 12 October to 16 November 2016. Stakeholders, who included school governors, staff, and parents/carers, the local parish council, other schools and academies within Central Bedfordshire and Ward Members, were invited to give their feedback regarding the proposed expansion.

Over 96% of those who responded to the council’s preliminary consultation, which ran from 12 October to 16 November 2016, were in favour of the proposal and agreed that this would be a very positive move for both the school and the children, ensuring uninterrupted learning for KS2.

Objectives - including how the proposal would increase educational standards and parental choice

Everton Community Lower School is an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school. The opportunity for children to remain at the school through to Year 6 would remove a transition point at the end of Year 4 and enable the school to take full responsibility for their progress from entry to Year R, Key Stage 1 and all the way through to the end of Key Stage 2.

The school is in the top 20% of schools within the country for KS1 SAT results and is confident that these results could be extended to KS2 SAT results.

The current head teacher has taught and led within both two-tier and three-tier systems and there are experienced members of staff within the teaching team who have previously taught in Upper Key Stage 2.

The school has declared that it would continue to have robust systems in place to monitor performance and standards for individual pupils and the whole school. Such measures would include:

  • focus on ‘Quality First Teaching’ throughout the school
  • termly lesson observations for all staff
  • continued quality ‘Continuous Professional Development’ for all staff, emphasising teacher high quality performance
  • robust monitoring of the curriculum, school planning, marking and feedback
  • effective management and leadership throughout the school
  • accurate and detailed assessment procedures, analysis of results and performance of all pupils half termly
  • immediate intervention for any pupils who are not achieving age related expectations
  • external monitoring of all systems and procedures by independent school improvement partners
  • effective and regular self-evaluation process carried out by all stakeholders

The school would continue to provide extended learning opportunities outside the normal school day. The current wide range of after school clubs would continue to be provided for all year groups. These may include sports and science, musical tuition, modern foreign languages, team building clubs as well as opportunities for a variety of other enrichment activities.

Although some schools within the area have determined to change their age range, other schools have chosen to remain within the three-tier system, which allows for continuing parental choice.

The effect on other schools, academies and educational institutions within the area

We believe that the change of age range for Everton Community Lower School would have little effect on other schools within the area.

With a published admission number of ten, the small number of children who would remain at Everton Community Lower into Years 5 and 6 would have minimal impact on the two local middle schools.

Children leaving Everton Community Lower School after Year 6 would have multiple options within the two-tier system in Cambridgeshire (subject to places being available), as well as being able to apply for places in Year 7 within schools in the Sandy or Biggleswade Cluster.

Project costs and indication of how these will be met

The school believes that the current accommodation is sufficient to meet the needs of additional Years 5 and 6 children and that the governing body would not be required to fund or seek finance for any additional new buildings.

The day to day running costs of school provision are met through revenue funding which is made available to each school as part of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and is based primarily on the numbers of pupils attending each school. This increases accordingly within an expanded school and would fund the additional teacher and resources that would be required for the additional children.

Related proposals

During the Autumn Term 2016, five other schools within the Sandy area consulted on a change of age range, and three further schools within Sandy consulted on a proposal to join together to form ‘Sandy Multi Academy Regional Trust’ (SMArT).

The governing bodies of the schools concerned have considered the responses received during their consultations and have published their decisions:

  • Laburnum Lower, Maple Tree Lower and Sandye Place Academy (middle) - the plans for a three school multi academy trust are currently on hold
  • Moggerhanger Lower – the governing body have determined to change the age range of the school from lower to primary from September 2018
  • Robert Peel Lower – the governing body have determined to change the age range of the school from lower to primary from September 2017
  • St Swithuns VC Lower – the governing body have determined to change the age range of the school from lower to primary from September 2017
  • John Donne Church of England - the governing body have determined to change the age range of the school from lower to primary from September 2017
  • Sandy Upper – the governing body have determined to change the age range of the school from upper to secondary from September 2018

The proposed change of age range for Everton Lower Community School brings the school in line with the changes that are to take place within other schools within the Sandy area.

Education standards and diversity of provision

The governing body of Everton Community Lower School believe that as a small rural village school which sits close to Potton, Sandy and Gamlingay the school would be able to complement the quality and provision of education within the local area.

Having all of Key Stage 2 on one site would meet the growing aspirations of parents and ensure consistency of standards of education within the immediate area.

As only one of a few Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ local schools the school would continue to work towards narrowing any attainment gaps particularly in Key Stage 2 and offer a small village school education that runs alongside other ‘Outstanding’ schools.

The children would also benefit from a full primary school setting designed to meet the learning needs of children throughout both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, with no disruption to their learning journey caused by a need to transfer to a new school halfway through Key Stage 2.

School size

The proposed expansion would increase the capacity of Everton Community Lower School from 50 to 70 pupils.

Proposed admission arrangements

The school has a published admission number of ten and, if the age range is extended, there are no plans to change this or the admission arrangements for 2017/18.

Should the age range extension be approved, current (2016/2017) pupils in Year 4 would have the option to progress through to Year 5 at Everton Community Lower School or, as is the current norm, apply to transfer to a Middle School i.e. Potton Middle, Sandye Place Academy or Gamlingay Village College. The expectation would be that children in Year 4 from 2017/18 would automatically remain with the school unless they specifically wish to transfer to an alternative education institution and would then be subject to the admissions process and criteria associated with that school.

The admission arrangements are published on the school’s website and include the criteria that are be used to determine how places are allocated if there are more applications for places than the number of places available.

National curriculum

Everton Community Lower School follows and would continue to follow the National Curriculum 2014 for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.

Equal opportunity issues

The governing body will continue to meet their proactive public sector equality duty (PSED) which requires them to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

The proposed change of age range would have no affect on any sex, race or disability discrimination issues. The school would continue to be committed to providing their pupils access to a range of opportunities which reflect the ethnic and cultural mix of the area, ensuring that all such opportunities are open to all.

Community cohesion

The school is predominantly white British and therefore ensures that there is a multi-cultural element running throughout the curriculum to provide the children with the opportunity to learn about children from different backgrounds. An understanding of, and respect for, different cultures, faiths and communities is encouraged through both teaching and class trips.

Travel and accessibility

Everton Community Lower School would work with the Council in order to minimise the effect an increased number of pupils would have upon parking within the area. The school has already trialled and subsequently brought into effect a new drop-off system that has significantly reduced the congestion around the school at key times.

School premises and playing fields

The school’s playground is suitable for a number of activities and sports, including after school club, and the school is able to access the village recreation ground for football, rugby etc.

The school would also look to further enhance their links with local schools, to provide opportunities to share resources, specialist teaching and create opportunities for competitive games and competitions.

The school is a member of the East Beds Schools Partnership Programme which facilitates intra and inter school competitions for Key Stage 1 and Lower and Upper Key Stage 2. The programme also provides training for staff in teaching upper Key Stage 2 PE and enables links to other schools to invite participation in Key Stage 2 Curriculum activities such as track athletics. 

Proposed stages for implementation

The proposed change would be implemented in stages, with Year 4 children having the opportunity to move into Year 5 in September 2017, with a subsequent move into Year 6 in September 2018.