Rationale

IMG_0119Oakham is a rapidly growing market town, with five new home developments, in which current Primary schools are close to or are currently over-subscribed and at capacity.  Oakham is in the county of Rutland and is the county’s main town.

The demand for work, housing, shopping, services and school places is greatest within Oakham. The development of the Hawksmead Housing Project is a main reason for the projected increase in pupil numbers in Oakham over the next 5 years.

In the past Rutland has provided sufficient primary school places. This will not be the case going forward with a significant basic need that will mean there will not be enough primary places for the town by September 2017.

The main factors which have influenced this trend are:

  • Birth rate.
  • Population growth.
  • Housing developments.
  • Cross-border admissions into Rutland schools.
  • Service children mobility – mainly from the Cottesmore base.
  • Parental choice patterns and admission appeals.

Taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this local issue is reflected in national statistics.

From 2015/16, demand will exceed supply of places in many areas of the county.

This situation is particularly challenging in the Oakham urban area where, as a result of housing development, population growth, parental choice and non-Rutland resident admissions, there is a high level of demand for school places and there is now a shortage of both primary and secondary school places.

Catmose Primary, an Oakham primary school and part of the Trust applying for this free school, was oversubscribed in 2015 by a third of its intake (11 spaces oversubscribed for a 30 PAN).

The number of primary age children projected to live in Oakham will require up to 200 additional primary age places by 2019/20.  60 of these places will be required by 2015/16.  This clearly shows the basic need for pupil places.  (Rutland County Council paper ‘Report No. 68 – 2015 Pupil Place Planning’)

The 5 year projection of primary pupil numbers in the Oakham area clearly shows the demand for places. The figures include the number of pupils in each year group from Reception to Year 6 and the pupil yield from housing developments in Oakham for each year.

The number of children seeking school places from new housing in 2014-2015 is projected to be 62.  By 2018-2019 this figure is projected to rise to 198.  In fact, the number of offers made decreases year on year, due to the effect of the falling birth rate in the period 2005-2010. However, the total of offers plus yield from housing each year exceeds the total number of places available (shown in red). By 2018-2019 there are forecast to be at least 160 additional primary age school places required in the Oakham area (Rutland County Council paper ‘Report No. 68 – 2015 Pupil Place Planning’).

Without the extra capacity that a new school within Oakham would provide, young children and families will have to seek school places in nearby villages and towns.  This would add further issues such as transportation needs and costs for families and the Local Authority.

The Local Authority of Rutland agree that a new Primary school within the town of Oakham is needed.

Future School Places

Based on the figures obtained from forecasts of pupil numbers a series of options have been developed for addressing the increasing demand for school places in the Oakham and Uppingham areas.

These options are set out below and form the basis of the plan from the Local Authority for ensuring there are sufficient school places for Rutland children in the period 2015-2020.

Proposal                                                                                          

  • To build a new 210 place primary school in the Oakham area to address the projected demand, largely arising from the pupil yield from major housing developments in Oakham.
  • To open this school in the 2017/18 school year and to undertake a graduated admission process commencing with 30 Reception age children, 15 Year 1 and 15 Year 2 children.

(Rutland County Council paper ‘Report No. 68 – 2015 Pupil Place Planning)

Many new residents in Oakham and the surrounding area have struggled to find a local primary school place, we are planning to address this by applying to open a new feeder school to Catmose College with a planned opening in September 2017. It will be sited in order to allow primary aged children living in the new Oakham developments and the surrounding area to attend a local school before transitioning to Catmose College.