Decision Maker: Lead Member for Education and Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To make a final decision on the proposed closure of St Pancras Catholic Primary School following the publication of a statutory proposal by the governing board of the school in September 2023.
In accordance with legislation, the proposal must be determined within two months of the end of the four-week representation period which followed publication.
36.1 The Lead Member considered a report by the Director of Children’s Services to determine the statutory proposal to discontinue St Pancras Catholic Primary School on 31 August 2024.
36.2 The Lead Member RESOLVED to approve the closure of St Pancras Catholic Primary School on 31 August 2024.
36.3 A small majority of families at the school who responded to the governing board’s consultation (56%) supported the proposal to close St Pancras. Parishioners and other interested parties were generally opposed to the proposal. Five responses were received during the representation period following the publication of the statutory proposal, raising comments and concerns about the proposal.
36.4 While recognising the nature of objections to the proposal, the local authority believes the case for the closure of St Pancras is strong for the following reasons.
· Due to the surplus places in the area, the school has struggled for a number of years to be full.
· Surplus places in Lewes remain high. The local authority is confident there would be sufficient school places available in the area for children displaced from St Pancras on 31 August 2024. Pupil forecasts indicate that the situation in the area is unlikely to change markedly in the coming years.
· The low pupil numbers, and the impact on the budget, limit the school’s capacity to improve the quality of education that it can provide.
· The governing board and the diocese have brought forward the proposal and are supportive of closure.
36.5 Having carefully considered the feedback received during the initial consultation and the subsequent representation period, the local authority has concluded that St Pancras can no longer be considered viable.
36.6 The Regulations set out the options the decision-maker has when making a decision on a closure proposal. The decision-maker can:
· reject the proposal;
· approve the proposal without modification;
· approve the proposal with such modifications as they think desirable; or
· approve the proposal, with or without modification, as specified in regulation 16 of the Establishment and Discontinuance Regulations.
Report author: Gary Langford
Publication date: 14/11/2023
Date of decision: 14/11/2023
Effective from: 21/11/2023