Wintringham School - your questions answered
As many residents will be aware The Round House Primary Academy has been oversubscribed for the past few years, with many children on Love’s Farm unable to obtain a place at their catchment school. The oversubscription at the school combined with expansion plans for over 3,800 houses on Wintringham Park and Love’s Farm Phase 2 has brought forward Cambridgeshire County Council’s decision that additional school places are required. As a result a new school, Wintringham Primary Academy, will open in September 2018. This is a welcomed decision and means that all Love’s Farm children will be able to go to a school within their community. However with the set-up of new school happening relatively quickly, there is still a lot of uncertainty and we understand many parents will have a lot of questions about the new school and how it will work alongside The Round House.
Recently we welcomed Tracy Bryden, Head Teacher of The Round House, Ben Pitt, Chair Governors at The Round House, and Penny Price from Cambridgeshire County Council’s School Places Planning Team to the LFCA meeting, where some of the details were discussed.
LFCA have put together the following to answer some of the most commonly asked questions. The details have been checked with both the school and Cambridgeshire County Council but if you have any further questions please contact The Round House (firstname.lastname@example.org / 01480 479890), or CCC admissions (email@example.com / 0345 045 1370).
Who will run Wintringham Primary Academy?
The Diamond Learning Partnership Trust (DLPT) will run the new school. This is the trust that runs The Round House along with several other school in and around St Neots. Tracy Bryden, the current head teacher of The Round House, will be the Executive Head of both schools.
Wintringham Primary Academy will be a sister school to The Round House, but both schools will be separate entities, each with their own education number (a unique number used to identify schools).
Where will the new school be located?
Wintringham Primary Academy will temporarily open on the site of The Round House for 1 - 1.5 years, before moving to it’s permanent location on the new Wintingham Park development.
Two new classrooms are being built on The Round House site where the pond is currently located (a new pond will be established nearby). This will be a permanent building (though temporary accommodation may also be required depending on demand for the new school), and will mean The Round House school can make use of them once Wintringham Primary school moves to it’s permanent site. There is a floor plan and site plan which shows more detail of the new building.
Urban and Civic are the master planners for the Wintringham development and are working with the County Council and the DLPT to develop plans for the permanent building. The school will be 3 form entry (meaning 3 classes per year group), over 2 floors and will be located about 100 metres south of Cambridge Road near the Dramsell Rise roundabout.
Urban and Civic’s website, www.wintringham.org shows more detail on the location and possible design of the school, (the final design is yet to be confirmed). Planning applications can also be view on Huntingdonshire District Council’s website www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/planning/
What will the new school be like?
Whilst it’s unfortunate that The Round House isn’t able to expand to accommodate all Love’s Farm children, the new school sounds very exciting and LFCA are confident that once it’s established it will be a great option for Love’s Farm children.
Urban and Civic (the Wintringham Park master developers) are very focused on communities and are keen to build a ‘wow’ factor school that will attract families to the development. Also as DLPT have already been selected as sponsors they are able to be involved in design discussions and so can ensure the building will fit the ethos of the trust and will have excellent, well designed, facilities that enhance learning and make the best use of space.
How will catchment areas work for both schools?
Both schools will have a joint catchment area, i.e. all of Love’s Farm and Wintringham developments. Some residents have raised concerns that children at the North of Love’s Farm will be disadvantaged as they will be furthest away from both schools. The governors of the Round House took this into consideration when deciding on catchment areas but were unable to come up with a solution that didn’t disadvantage others.
Cambridgeshire County Council have said that joint catchment schools tend to be selfselecting and believe this solution will work as some parents will choose The Round House, whilst others will prefer Wintringham Primary. This solution will also ensure that parents are given a real choice of schools, and can select the one that is the best fit for their child and aren’t restricted by where they live on the development.
How are places allocated?
The admissions criteria for each school is in the First Steps guide for school applications which is available here. That document shows that for the past few years The Round House has allocated places up to criterion 3. This means places have been allocated to looked after children (criterion 1), then to siblings within catchment (criterion 2), and then to children living within catchment (criterion 3). As there were not enough places for all children living within the catchment area, places were allocated based on distance as the crow flies (this is calculated from the main school gates on School Drive). In the 2017/18 intake places were allocated up to a 409m radius (0.254miles), and in 2018/19 places were allocated up to a 367m radius (0.228 miles). This area forms the ‘admission area’ which in this case, is much smaller than the catchment area.
This admissions criteria means that for the past few years any siblings living within catchment, i.e. anywhere on Love’s Farm (criterion 2) would have been allocated a place, but any siblings living out of the catchment area (criterion 4) would not have. It is very difficult to know what impact the new school will have on the Round House’s admission area next year.
Are all Love’s Farm children guaranteed a place at one of the schools?
Legally school places cannot be guaranteed, however Cambridgeshire County Council have advised that there should be sufficient school places across the two schools for children living on Love’s Farm, and the LFCA believe parents can be reassured that there will now be sufficient space at either The Round House or Wintringham Primary for all Love’s Farm children.
What provisions are being made to prevent this issue from happening again?
There are a further two schools planned across the Eastern Expansion, another 2-form entry school on Wintringham Park, and also a 2-form entry school on Love’s Farm 2. The second school on Wintringham Park is likely to have the option of expanding to a 3FE school if that is required.
Cambridgeshire County Council recently undertook a survey across Love’s Farm to better understand the demographic on the estate, and have assured LFCA that they will monitor demand for school places across the Eastern Expansion as houses begin to be built.
How will the two schools be run together?
Tracy Bryden has said that whilst on the temporary site both schools will be run alongside each other with all children sharing break times, assemblies, lunch, etc. However there will be some independence during lessons, registration etc., allowing the Wintringham Primary school to begin to build its own identity and community.
Once on separate sites, the schools will continue to be run as sister schools both sharing the DLPT ethos with some staff cross-over, joint planning, a shared curriculum, events, etc.
How many children will be in reception when the school opens in September?
Six reception offers have been made and there has been additional interest in the school following school place announcements. The PAN (the number of pupil places) for the school was set at 10 for 2018 entry. This is to prevent children from outside of the catchment area taking up places and ensure that Love's Farm children have access to a school in their community. However, the PAN of 10 isn't the upper limit for the class and the DLPT can over-admit to meet demand (within reason); there will be room for up to 30 reception children from Love's Farm.
It is not known how many year one children there will be.
On the temporary site the school will initially open for reception and year 1 but will expand to provide school places across all years to meet demand as necessary.
Once on the permanent site the school will not be opened for all three forms of entry straight away but will be expanded gradually to meet demand.
Will there be wraparound care available at Wintringham Primary?
Yes. Whilst on the temporary site the Round House afterschool club (Magpies) will be available to all Wintringham school children. More information can be found on The Round House website. Once on the permanent site wrap-around provision will be available either at The Round House, or in a separate club if there is enough demand. It is hoped that wrap-around provision will also be available for pre-school children once Wintringham School is established.
Can I still apply to the new school?
Yes, applications for Wintringham School can still be made. Application forms can be obtained from Cambridgeshire County Council, or from the office at The Round House. Please bear in mind that only one application will be processed per child at one time. This means that any new application will replace your previous application and cancel any previous offer made. If a parent wishes to keep their initial offer or remain on reserve lists for schools they originally requested and were refused, they must be included on any amended application. If you would like to discuss your application before you submit it or if you are concerned or about the impact of this, i.e. how applying for Wintringham Primary may impact a place you have already been allocated at another school, or a place on The Round House reserve list then please contact the admissions team at Cambridgeshire County Council; firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0345 045 1370.
Is there a waiting list for The Round House?
Yes. Your child’s name will automatically be placed on the reserve list for every school where they are refused a place. However reserve lists are not the same as waiting lists, children are placed on the list according to the schools admissions criteria rather than by the date the application was made. Your child will remain on a reserve list until 31 December 2018. Reserve lists for all schools are managed by Cambridgeshire County Council and more information, including finding out where your child is on a list can be found by contacting the admissions team either by email email@example.com or phone 0345 045 1370.
The experience of Love’s Farm parents has suggested that reserve lists can move considerably after initial school offers are made, particularly in May when the second round of places are allocated. For the 2017/18 intake 3 children from Love’s Farm were offered a place at The Round House from the reserve list between April and September, and there have been several more places offered since September.
What is the appeals process?
Any parents unhappy with the school place they have been allocated are entitled to appeal with all information available on the Cambridgeshire County Council’s website. However Love’s Farm parents’ experience suggests the process is very complex, stressful and it’s extremely difficult to succeed. Eight parents from Love’s Farm appealed last year, none of whom were successful. If you’d like to speak to some parents who have been through the process please get in touch with the Round House Capacity Campaign through their Facebook page.
How can I find out more information?
A website for Wintringham Primary Academy will be set up soon. In the meantime all the information about the school will be posted on the Wintringham Primary Academy Facebook page . There is also the Round House Capacity Campaign Facebook page. Tracy Bryden has also welcomed any concerned parents to contact The Round House for any further information either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (01480 479890)