Shelton Lower School consultation

Rationale for considering the future of Shelton Lower School

Consultation closed at 5pm on Monday, 23 July 2018

The school has not been full for a number of years and only five children are due to start in the September year R intake out of a total admission number of 15.

Taking account of these pupils, and pupils whose parents have taken places in other schools, the number of pupils on roll in September will be 39, which is 52 per cent of Shelton lower school’s capacity. In addition, there are currently 11 children attending the pre-school nursery but no new applicants for September 2018, and the head teacher is currently reviewing its viability.

Despite the governing body making a significant effort over the years to increase pupil numbers through publicity, providing a pre-school nursery and federating with another school, and undertaken marketing activity, there has been a steady decline in pupil numbers and this decline is forecast to continue.

At the point of producing this document it is predicted that by September 2018 there will be only 39 pupils on roll. The projected pupil numbers for the school are provided below. These projections take account of the planned housing growth in the local area. The numbers show a continued decline with the school expected to be operating at under a half of capacity (41 per cent) by 2020 and around a third by 2021.

Year group capacity in Shelton Lower School
Year group
October 2018
October 2019
October 2020
October 2021
Reception
5
4
4
4
Year 1
9
5
4
4
Year 2
9
9
5
4
Year 3
7
9
9
5
Year 4
9
7
9
9
Total
39
34
31
26
Percentage of capacity
52%
45%
41%
35%

Schools are allocated funding based on the number of pupils they have. There is a point at which schools cannot continue because they have too few pupils and therefore inadequate funding to keep operating. Shelton Lower School has gone into a budget deficit position and this looks set to worsen.

The table below shows the forecast financial position for the school based on the predicted pupil numbers. This information was accurate at the point of producing this document. Given the projected decline in pupil numbers, the deficit cannot be repaid and is projected to increase.

Forecast school budget, March 2018 to March 2021

31 March 2018
31 March 2019
31 March 2020
31 March 2021
Income
£338,712
£285,680
£268,078
£252,702
Expenditure
£348,680
£303,822
£301,939
£292,554
In-year revenue deficit
(£9,968)
(£18,142)
(£33,861)
(£39,852
Deficit brought forward
(£8,786)
(£18,754)
(£36,896)
(£70,757
Cumulative revenue deficit
(£18,754)
(£36,896)
(£70,757)
(£110,609

It will be increasingly difficult with reducing budget year on year for the school to sustain the broad and balanced curriculum required by the national curriculum, which is a legal requirement.

The governors alerted the council to the deteriorating financial situation in February 2018. The council has been providing financial support to the school and exploring possible options. At present there seems to be no prospect of recovery and therefore we must consider the future of the school as its financial viability is in question.

Therefore, in the best educational interests of pupils, the council has started the statutory process to consider the future of the school and possible closure.