Hungarton Parish Council

Serving the people of Hungarton

Hungarton Road Sign

Clerk: Andrew May
Hill Rise, Barley Leas
Hungarton, Leicestershire

Tel: 0116 259 5304

Details of Information from Houghton Schools on admissions policy

Dear Mr. May,

On 18th November 2019 the Governing Body of Houghton on the Hill CofE Primary School approved a proposal to consult on a new Admissions Policy. The two amendments to current arrangements are:

  1. To cap the admission number in all classes at 30;
  2. To widen the catchment area from Houghton and Ingarsby to include the village of Hungarton.

The rationale is that:

  1. Due to increased housing and lack of schools with spaces within a reasonable distance, the school is currently obliged to admit any pupils who move into our catchment area. This has resulted in one class reaching 36 pupils. We struggle to accommodate many more than 30 pupils in our classrooms.
  1. Parents/children living in Hungarton have historically always selected to come to Houghton School, and we are aware there is some concern amongst Hungarton residents that with growing pupil numbers this might not be a possibility available to them in the future. Hungarton is currently in the catchment for St Luke's Primary School in Thurnby & Bushby but Houghton is closer. This creates an overlap in catchment areas (Academy Schools can determine their own catchment areas), but St Luke's have not raised any concerns regarding this proposal. Also see the note below re Houghton's Neighbourhood Plan.

There will no negative impact on anyone currently living in Houghton or Hungarton, whether they have children in the school at present or expect them to start in our Foundation Stage (age 4+) in the future. In fact, I believe this change can only be positive for current residents and children. Hungarton children will have priority entry to our Foundation Stage (age 4+) in the future over children from outside our catchment area who live closer to our school than Hungerton children.

The issue that we are seeking to address relates to those moving into villages with primary school aged children when it takes the pupil-count in a class over 30.

The attached letter and the new Admissions Policy explain the basis of admissions "mid-term", i.e. new pupils into Years 2 to 6 inclusive, where admission would push the number of pupils in a class above 30.

Consultees include all current parents, Houghton on the Hill and Hungarton Parish Councils, developers of houses in Houghton, and feeder nurseries.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am available to discuss this with Parish Councillors and/or attend a Parish Council Meeting.

Please confirm receipt of this email. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Newman

Chair of Governors,

Houghton on the Hill CofE Primary School

Note from Houghton on the Hill's Neighbourhood Plan 2016

Response to draft NP consultation, from Hungarton Parish Council

"4.2.6 (p8) - There would be an impact on Hungarton children wishing to attend Houghton Primary School once an additional 100-150 houses have been developed.

The implication is that there would be fewer places for Non-Houghton children. Houghton is the nearest primary school to Hungarton with St Luke's in Thurnby being twice the distance away. We would therefore like provision to be made to increase the size of the school hence enabling it to accommodate the children from the new development without disadvantaging Hungarton children.

Reply to Hungarton Parish Council's response

We recognise the potential problem which Hungarton PC point out. Allocation of places in Houghton school may change over the coming years due to several influences which include:

  • Inclusion of Year 6 in the school from September 2017.
  • More children within catchment from new developments.
  • Falling numbers of out-of catchment children as new schools may develop nearby in Leicester City.
  • The school is reviewing academy status options which may affect catchment areas (see below).

Many of the factors listed above are outside the remit of neighbourhood plans, but we would intend that the Houghton Neighbourhood Plan does not disrupt the established pattern of Hungarton children continuing to be very welcome at Houghton school.

Academy schools / Multi Academy Trusts can set their own catchment areas and act as their own admissions authority. Local Authorities control these issues for their "maintained schools".

There is an established pattern of Hungarton children coming to Houghton School, which is the closest to them, although they are in the Thurnby St Luke's catchment area.

If Houghton School becomes an academy, it would certainly review it's catchment area and then consult as required if changes are proposed. Academies are required to ensure that catchment areas are designed so that they are "reasonable and clearly defined".

The Chair of Governors at Houghton School, Mark Newman, is a member of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Party and would be prepared to meet with Hungarton Parish Council to discuss this further if requested. He can be contacted through the school office.

Posted: Wed, 20 Nov 2019 15:15 by Andrew May

Tags: Schools