A PRIMARY school which had been due to close one of its reception classes this year has reversed the decision, to help accommodate children who have missed out on places in Lyde Green.
Barley Close Primary School in Mangotsfield has agreed to pause its decision to cut its annual admission number from 60 to 30 in September.
South Gloucestershire Council needs to accommodate 59 children across the district who have not been found a place at any of their families’ three choices of school this year.
Many of those children are from Lyde Green, which has a heavily-oversubscribed primary school.
A new primary school was originally scheduled to open in Honeysuckle Road last September, running in tandem with the existing school in Willowherb Road.
But work has yet to start on the new site, also earmarked for a secondary school, so the growing population does not have enough places to serve it.
On primary school offer day in April, Lyde Green Primary School issued a statement saying it had received 142 applications for its 60 places.
The school said it had offered 29 places to siblings of current pupils and 31 to children whose families lived within a quarter of a mile of the school.
A total of 33 “refusals” had been made, to families who had not taken up an offer from a higher-preference school or withdrawn their application.
Many parents from Lyde Green were offered places at Barley Close last September.
But earlier that year the school had decided to reduce admissions from 60 to 30 from this year onwards, to cut its overall capacity in the long term from 420 to 210. At the time the decision was taken there were 289 pupils on the roll, an average of 41 in each year.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “Barley Close Primary School Governing Body had taken the decision to reduce its admission number to 30.
“However, they agreed to pause implementation of the change and offered up to 60 reception places for the academic year 2023-24 to ensure that there are sufficient primary school places available in the area.”
One parent has set up apetition calling for a school bus service to be set up for Lyde Green parents whose children have places at Barley Close.
In her petition on the change.org website, Kayley Cox said: “Barley Close primary is a 32-minute walk there and same to get back home, leading to a total of over two hours’ walk every day for the mums and dads who have to walk to Barley to drop their children to and from school.
“This can be very difficult for a lot of parents, especially those with disabilities or children in different schools and don’t drive.”
She said a school bus would “greatly impact the lives” of parents getting their children to and from Barley Close.
The petition can be found at bit.ly/3NgqigV.
Overall, the council says more children have been offered places at their first-choice schools this year than last, despite more families applying. A total of 3,254 applications were made for places – 26 more than last year.
First preference offers were made to 2,991 or 92% of them – up from 90% last year.
A further 159 children were offered a place at their family’s second-choice school while 31 were offered their third choice, the same as last year. 59 of pupils did not receive one of their three preferences.