Consultation on the proposal to enlarge the premises of Belswains Primary School, Hemel Hempstead

This consultation opened on 23 January 2018

This consultation closed on 12 March 2018

We invited your views to expand Belswains Primary School as part of the Primary School Expansion Programme

Supporting documents

Belswains Primary School consultation letter

Belswains Primary School - The Four Tests

Our pupil forecasts

We produce forecasts of pupil numbers every year to ensure they’re based on the most current data available.

The county wide forecasts are generally within the Audit Commission’s guidelines of +/-1% accuracy year on year.

Our latest forecasts indicate that more reception places will be required in some primary schools.

We’re also monitoring secondary school demand and planning additional places where they’re required.

Planning areas

Our forecasts divide the county into secondary and primary school planning areas. These are administrative boundaries, based on geographical areas containing single schools or groups of schools.

There will always be movement across planning areas due to parental preference and because some children may live close to one area boundary, whilst their closest school may actually be in the adjacent area.

Feasibility work

Our initial feasibility work confirms which school sites are potential options for enlargement. We need to have some confidence that a proposal is physically feasible before starting a public consultation.

Our work includes:

  • town planning site appraisals
  • advice on any significant property size or topography constraints
  • a traffic assessment commissioned through highways consultants
  • high level cost estimates based on a cost per square metre rate.

We then consider the potential options against the Director of Education & Early Intervention’s Four Tests:

  • Does it provide the right number of places in the right location?
  • Does it support and not undermine school effectiveness?
  • Are the implications for buildings, environment and cost, feasible and affordable?
  • What are the transitional implications?

Legal and statutory basis for expansion

We are the admission authority for all community and voluntary controlled schools in Hertfordshire (section 88 of the School Standards & Framework Act 1998) and have responsibility for all decisions about how many pupils schools admit and under what arrangements.

Paragraphs 1.3 and 1.4 of the current School Admissions Code (published in December 2014) allows any admission authority to admit pupils over a published admission number after admission arrangements have been determined (as long as the local authority retains the ability to deliver coordination effectively).  This is also confirmed by Regulation 14 of the School Admissions (Admission Arrangements and Co-ordination of Admission Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012.

Timeline

Meetings marked with * will be open to the public. 

Process

Date

Public consultation

23 January – 12 March 2018

Education Panel*

17 April 2018

Cabinet*

23 April 2018

Statutory notice period (4 weeks)

Week commencing 01 May 2018

Cabinet* (for final approval if objections received)             

09 July 2018

Implementation

September 2019

Community and school engagement

The consultation letter and the online response form are available on this page and letters have been sent to local libraries to increase community awareness of the public consultation. We have directly contacted:

  • local county and district councillors and MPs
  • parish and town councils
  • residents living in the area around the school
  • local schools, colleges and early years settings, including children’s centres
  • the Anglican and RC Dioceses
  • local NHS trusts and the Primary Care Trust
  • relevant trade union organisations.

The headteacher, governing body, teachers, parents and carers of children at the schools identified for enlargement are aware of the proposals and are also being consulted through this process.

How to follow or influence the decision

Send us your views using our online response form. All comments will be taken into account by elected members, who will make the final decision.

You can keep track of any decisions in our calendar of council meetings.

Impact of expansion on pupils, classes and traffic

We hope to make it easier for children to attend a local school by creating extra places as close as possible to areas of need.

Infant class sizes will not increase beyond 30 pupils per qualified teacher, in line with government legislation.

If a decision is made to enlarge a school, we will work closely with the school to provide accommodation that supports pupils’ needs whilst providing good value for money. We will manage any building work using contractors, who will ensure a safe environment for pupils and staff. To minimise disruption to the school, we will utilise modern off-site construction methods which offer quality buildings and reduced time on-site.

Mobile classrooms may be necessary to temporarily accommodate additional pupils, for example, during building works. If required, these temporary buildings will meet all current building regulations and space standards, offering a good quality teaching environment. If a decision is made to enlarge the school permanently, any existing temporary classrooms will be replaced by new permanent accommodation.

Planning permission will probably be required for any building work, resulting in a separate local consultation through the town planning system on proposal details, including highways, parking and conservation.

If the proposals are rejected

If the proposals are not supported then there is unlikely to be enough school places for reception age children in this area, so very young children will have to travel further to school.

Funding

We recognise the high levels of investment needed over the coming years and have committed capital funding from central government to ensure additional reception places are provided for children from September 2019.

We’re scrutinising other sources of funding to contribute towards the overall fund, such as housing development contributions.

For more information, please contact the Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 4043.