One school in 10 in Doncaster is over capacity

Education news...
Education news...

One in 10 Doncaster schools has more pupils than it was intended to accommodate, new figures reveal.

Information obtained by our reporters shows 35 of the borough’s 121 schools were oversubscribed this academic year, with 12 now running above capacity. Doncaster Council says overcrowding is not a major issue in the borough.

But a teachers’ union fears pupils could struggle to get into the schools they want to attend.

Figures show Shaw Wood Primary in Armthorpe has the most pupils over its capacity, with 36.

Shaw Wood has 456 pupils but has an official capacity of 420.

Headteacher Jo Campbell said extra pupils in the school did not mean huge class sizes.

She said: “This has been done with the agreement of the local education authority and has meant we have more classes.

“The authority is providing us with extra buildings and it had been done with the agreement of the governors.

“It is to do with the level of demand for schools in the local area. It does not mean that we have huge class sizes.”

Barnby Dun Primary school was listed as having 28 pupils more than its capacity, with 308 pupils compared to a capacity of 280.

Dunsville Primary School had 297 pupils, 17 more than its 280 capacity.

Hall Cross was 12 over with 1,412 pupils compared to its proposed limit of 1,400.

Eleanor Brazil, council director of children and young people’s services, said: “Unlike in some parts of the country, overcrowding is not a significant issue in Doncaster’s schools, with the vast majority of schools able to keep student numbers at recommended levels.

“Ninety-nine per cent of children in Doncaster get a place at one of their preferred schools, well above the national average, with 96 per cent going to their first choice.

“We have also been successful in ensuring that, where a place in one of their preferred schools isn’t available, children are able to attend an alternative school that is nearby.

“We closely monitor all communities in the borough, and we are providing additional capacity – such as the new primary school at Balby and the extension of Hexthorpe Primary – in areas where we know there will be an increase in demand due to rising numbers of local children.”

Some admit a small number of pupils above their ideal admission number, either due to successful admission appeals or because additional capacity has been provided by the school, she added.

Doncaster’s regional officer for the National Union of Teachers Nick Raine said he was concerned about the number of schools which were oversubscribed in the borough.

He said: “Local authorities no longer have control of schools and cannot build new ones because the school system has been broken up.

“In Doncaster, all the secondary schools are now academies.

“We think children have the right to go to their local schools, but oversubscribed schools make it more difficult for them.”

The other schools which were over capacity in the figures, for October 2014, were:

All Saints C of E School, Hooton Pagnell (nine over); Auckley Junior and Infants School (two); Mexborough Pitt Street Infants School (two); Our Lady of Sorrows RC Primary (one); Scawsby Saltersgate Juniors (three); St Mary’s Catholic Primary (six); Waverley Primary (five); and Ridgewood Primary (five).

The figures show another 23 schools were oversubscribed in terms of pupils wanting to go there.

The highest number of applications above the admissions number was at Hungerhill School, Edenthorpe, with 60 over the agreed admissions number of 224.

Trinity Academy, in Thorne, had 35 more applications than it had places, it states.

Also turning pupils away were Town Field Primary (19); Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC Primary (16); Hayfield School (16); Hexthorpe Primary (13); Tickhill Estfeld Primary (10); St Francis Xavier RC Primary (10); Armthorpe Tranmoor Primary (nine); Auckley School (nine); Hatchell Wood Primary (nine); Armthorpe Southfield School (eight); Sprotbrough Orchard Infants (five); Scawsby Saltersgate (four); Ridgewood School (four); St Joseph’s and St Teresa’s RC Primary (four)’ Barnburgh Primary (three); McAuley School (three); Balby Central Primary (two); Norton Infants (one); Richmond Hill Primary (one); St Peter’s RC Primary (one); Warmsworth Primary (one).