Agenda item

Agenda item

School Place Planning and Admissions

The report of the Director of Education is attached.


A report from the Director of Education used the school admissions data for 2019/20 to forecast future demand for primary and secondary school places in the city and to make the case for supporting the creation of a new primary school in the city centre and a new secondary school in east Manchester.


The city’s population was increasing. It was predicted to be around 664,000 by the mid-2020, compared to 504,000 when measured in the 2011 Census. The October 2018 school census had identified 77,372 pupils attending Manchester Schools, that had increased to 79,429 pupils in the October 2019 census. Given that change, and the predictions of population change, ensuring a sufficient supply of high quality school places would remain a priority for the Council.


The report explained that the Council was working with its partners to develop additional places in targeted areas, utilising Basic Need funding from the government for the site and building works. The development of new schools by a local authority required the use of the free school presumption process, working with an approved sponsor to establish the school. All new schools established through the presumption process were therefore classified as Free Schools.


In response to this forecast demand the Council had been working with Renaker Build to establish a new primary school as part of the Crown Street phase 2 development in the city centre (Minute PH/18/58). The school was expected to provide 210 places for primary age children along with a 26 place nursery. The free school presumption process for this school would now be used and it was anticipated that the school would admit its first pupils in 2024. A second new primary school was also being investigated by the Star Academies Trust, if a permanent site for it could be acquired. That was forecast to open in 2023.


In relation to secondary school places, the report explained that plans to develop a new secondary school at Nutsford Vale, Matthews Lane (Minute PH/18/21) had not progressed as expected. To safeguard the future development of a new secondary school in east Manchester approval had been given to fund the acquisition of the Showcase Cinema site on Hyde Road (Minute Exe/20/08). Some of that site could be given over for a new secondary school. If that site proved to be suitable then the new school at Matthews Lane would not be progressed as it was becoming clear that constructing a school on Nutsford Vale would be overly expensive.


The development of a new secondary school at the Hyde Road site would still require a free school presumption process to be undertaken to identify a preferred sponsor. That process should conclude in late summer or early autumn 2020 and the first places made available in September 2021 school admissions. However, opening of the school for September 2021 would require the use of temporary accommodation for a period of up to three years while the new school was being built.


The meeting was addressed by Councillor Johns as a councillor for the Deansgate ward. The thanked the Executive member and the education team for the work they had put into securing the development of the new primary school in the city centre. He spoke of the excitement there was amongst residents at the prospect of a new primary school within their local community.


It was noted that the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee had also considered this report and had endorsed its recommendations (Minute CYP/20/12).




1.         That Basic Need funding be used to fund a new high school and contribute towards the development of a city centre primary school.


2.         To request that officers undertake a consultation to gather views on the plans to develop a new primary school in the city centre and a new secondary school in east Manchester as a first step towards identifying a provider for the new school.


3.         To delegate authority to the Director of Education in consultation with the Executive Member for Children’s Services to progress the publication of a specification for each new school and invitations to sponsor based on the outcomes of the consultation; and to identify a preferred sponsor for each school to be recommended to the DfE.


4.         To note the data relating to September 2019 admissions and the pupil forecasts that had been submitted to the Department for Education.



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