Consultation to Reduce PAN

Consultation regarding a change to the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) of Latchmere School for entry in September 2024

1. Background

1.1 The current Published Admission Number (PAN) for Latchmere School is 120. This means that the number of pupils admitted into the school in Reception is limited to 120. In September 2021, 107 children were admitted and in September 2022, 103 children were admitted, meaning the school has run four partially filled classes in each of these year groups.

1.2 Reducing the PAN will assist Latchmere Academy Trust and Latchmere School’s Governing Body in providing stability to their long-term planning while continuing to provide an appropriate number of places for future pupils living in the surrounding area and wishing to attend a local primary school.

Within North Kingston, Kingston Town and Norbiton there were 76 available reception places in 2021 and 81 available reception places in 2022.

1.3 Although the Regulations and Code of Practice relating to school admissions no longer require an admissions authority to consult when maintaining or increasing a school’s PAN, there remains a requirement to consult when the proposal is to reduce a PAN.

1.4 The impact of another partially filled year group on an already stretched budget has led to the school exploring the option of reducing the PAN and consulting with parents. To ensure future budgets are sustainable it is important classes are full and therefore the school are consulting to reduce the PAN from 120 to 90 in the September 2024 arrangements.   

1.5 Latchmere School is part of Latchmere Academy Trust and the Trust, as the admission authority, is seeking comments on the proposed change along with school’s Local Governing Body.

2. Specific Proposal

2.1 Latchmere Academy Trust and Latchmere School’s Governing Body propose to reduce the PAN from 120 to 90 with effect from September 2024.

2.2 This means that the number of places available for children in Reception in 2024 – and

all subsequent Reception cohorts – will be 90. For children who already have a place at the

school in other year groups there will be no change. This is the only proposed change to the admission arrangements; all other provisions, including the oversubscription criteria, will remain the same.

2.3 Factors that have been considered by Latchmere Academy Trust and Latchmere School’s Governing Body in making this application to vary the arrangements include:

• The continued ability of the school to provide sufficient places for local children

• The provision of the most appropriate learning environment for all pupils thus facilitating continuing school improvement

• Future resource planning and management

• The capacity of the school resources management will be more effective

2.4 Latchmere School is committed to reviewing the PAN if the local demographic and context dictates a need for this in the future.

3. Who is being consulted?

3.1 This consultation is for the specific attention of:

• Parents of children between the ages of two and eighteen

• Other persons in the area who have an interest in the proposed admissions

• All other primary admission authorities within the local area

• The local authority

4. How to respond

4.1 This consultation will run until Wednesday 25th January 2023.  You are invited to submit comments in writing about the proposal to Latchmere School via

office@latchmereschool.org  or to Ms Anna Steels (Executive Headteacher) c/o Latchmere School, Latchmere Road, Kingston Upon Thames, KT2 5TT. Any queries or comments about the proposal can also be submitted to the school and will be answered via the FAQs available on the school website.

4.2 Following the consultation period Latchmere Academy Trust and Latchmere School’s Governing Body will consider any comments received and whether to proceed with the proposed change to the PAN.

FAQs

What is the issue?

The number of children joining Latchmere School in Reception in September 2022 continues to be below the PAN of 120. In 2021, 107 pupils were allocated a place and for 2022, 103 pupils were allocated a place. These allocations have been spread across 4 classes in each year group meaning there were 16 available places in 2021 and 11 available spaces in 2022.

Why is a low admission number a problem?

The fall in admissions has a significant impact on the sustainability of the school. Since schools are funded on the basis of pupil numbers, classes significantly smaller than 30 are not financially sustainable.

Why are there so few admissions?

The primary reason for this is that there are fewer children of Reception age in the area.  This is mainly the consequence of falling birth rate, but families moving away from the region is also a contributing factor.

With fewer children for the same total number of school places, some schools in our area have seen a significant drop in numbers.

Will the trend reverse?

Latchmere School strives to attract as many prospective pupils as possible. The re-introduction of in-person tours and a collective promotion strategy allows parents to see the amazing school we have to offer. However, with falling birth rates we think it is unlikely that we will see a return to previously high numbers of applications.

What is being proposed?

Latchmere Academy Trust and the Governing Body of Latchmere School has decided to consult on a reduction in PAN from 120 to 90 for entry to the school in September 2024.

What are the benefits of reducing the PAN?

By controlling the admission number, provision can be shaped to ensure the sustainability of the school. As there will three classes in each year group Latchmere will not need to employ additional teachers to cover four unfilled classes.

What if the school does nothing?

If this situation is not proactively managed and future class sizes are significantly below capacity, then Latchmere School will not be financially sustainable in the longer term.

What is the likely timeline for this?

The consultation begins on Wednesday 7th December and will be completed by Wednesday 25th January 2023. This will allow for the Christmas Bank Holidays during the timeframe.  Following the consultation period Latchmere Academy Trust and Latchmere School’s Governing Body will consider any comments received and whether to proceed with the proposed change to the PAN.  The admission arrangements for September 2024 will be determined before 28 February 2023.

Who are the stakeholders?

Staff, parents, local nurseries and schools, the local authority and the local community.

Is this a done deal?

No. Depending on the outcome of the consultation the proposal may be withdrawn.

What will happen if pupil numbers increase?

We continue to welcome as many pupils as possible, and it is the aim to proactively maximise admissions. Should expectations be exceeded and we return to more normal admission numbers, then the school is able to admit above PAN and indeed to increase the PAN at a later stage.

Does this affect any children who currently attend the school?

No. The proposal to reduce the PAN will only affect families applying for Reception places from September 2024 onwards. All children who currently attend Latchmere School will continue to do so. Siblings will continue to have priority when applying for admission, so unless there are more than 90 siblings applying for Reception places, they are sure to be offered places.

Does this affect applications to other year groups?

The change in PAN would affect the Reception intake in 2024 and each subsequent Reception year. Year groups that currently have a capacity of 120 children will be unaffected.

We hope that this makes things clear. If there are any further questions, please do contact the school and we will update these FAQs.

I have a concern about the impact of redundancies on staff morale. Is it possible to have any information for parents about how the reduction in staff will be managed?

As things currently stand, we do not expect a need for staff redundancies. Being a larger than average primary school, we experience a natural turnover of staff each year. Providing this trend continues, there will be no need to make any staff redundant as we will not appoint new staff to replace leavers.