SCHOOL PLACE PLANNING – Blythe Ward

This post is a follow-up to the a post dated 3 February 2016 (see https://cllrkenhawkins.co.uk/2016/02/03/school-place-planning-in-blythe-ward/ ). That post was to outline school place planning within the ward as a result of planning applications, especially the recent application by IM Properties to develop Blythe valley Park.

A short while ago Cllr Alex Insley and I had a meeting with Ann Pearson, School Place Planning from Solihull Council. This post reflects the discussions we had.

Solihull’s School Organisation Plan (SOP) has been adopted recently, going before the council’s cabinet member for Education and Skills on 25 May 2016. The formal report can be viewed here: (agenda item 4): http://eservices.solihull.gov.uk/mgInternet/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=552&MId=5978 . The plan caters for growth in housing number within the borough.

In relation to development proposed though the planning application by IM Properties at Blythe Valley Park (BVP) I can report the councils education department, through school place planning, is planning for an additional need for 1,000 new families coming to the borough, even though the proposals for BVP is for 750 homes. Here, the proposals for a care facility could realise some 250 residents within Solihull moving into the care facility, thereby making their existing home available for new residents to come into Solihull. This is important when considering funding for new school places under funding formulae termed Section 106 Funding. The council’s education are therefore not oblivious to the consequences of the proposed development.

Solihull’s organisation plan highlights a need for an additional one form entry at primary school level in the Blythe ward area to manage the anticipated growth. This equates to an additional 210 primary school pupils (class sizes of 30 x & year groups). See document here:Sch Org Plan

How projected housing affects school places year on year can be read at Appendix H on page 48, and Primary places by planning area (Blythe ward) can be found on page 44 in Appendix F.

How the council deals with this issue (selecting the school to increase numbers of pupils on roll) is shown within the SOP and can be found at Appendix J on page 52. The council carries out formal consultation with local schools and this is being undertaken with three local schools near to BVP. It is fair to state the three schools are actively engaged in this process. Once a decision is made then funding will follow to accommodate the extra need, which in the first instance will be ensuring sufficient accommodation and teaching staff. All this will be funded by the developer.

The development of some 220 new homes on Mount Dairy Farm realised in excess of £1m by way of Section 106 funding contribution to school places. Even with my maths we can expect a contribution from IM Properties to school places in Solihull to be substantially more than £4m. This will also contribute to additional places at secondary level, something the council’s education department is already planning for.

The decision as to which school will accommodate the additional one form entry will be made alongside the planning process. Once I am aware of more details I will report back.

 

 


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