School catchment areas consultation

Following the decision to close Thomas Hepburn Community Academy (THCA) in August 2019, we are consulting on proposals to re-designate the linked primary school catchment areas. 

We need to do this as the current policy for secondary school admissions gives a higher priority to those children living in the catchment area of a secondary school which is based on the linked primary school.

Following the closure of THCA there are three Secondary Community Academies who will have this in their policy for admission, and who could be allocated previous THCA catchment primary schools on a permanent basis:

  • Heworth Grange School
  • Joseph Swan Academy
  • Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy

The other two schools located in the east Gateshead planning area have different admission policies and therefore cannot be allocated any of THCA primary schools:

  • Cardinal Hume Catholic School - determined by parish boundaries
  • Emmanuel College, City Technology College - determined by post code between Gateshead and Newcastle

Catchment areas

All community, voluntary controlled, some voluntary aided/foundation schools and academies are surrounded by a defined geographical area known as their catchment area.

Catchment areas help schools to identify their communities and give parents an indication of their local school. There is no guarantee of a place for pupils resident within a school's catchment area or for pupils who move into the area at a later date, who are considered individually. Living in a catchment area can, however, give pupils a higher priority for admission to a school over other pupils who live outside the catchment area.

To further determine a school catchment area that is reasonable, wherever possible walking distance to school is taken in to account. Current Department of Education guidance on home to school transport states that statutory walking distances are:

  • 2 miles if below the age of 8
  • 3 miles if aged between 8 and 16

Consultation requirements

We are required to consult on our admission arrangements for the following school year for six weeks between 1 October 2018 and 31 January 2019. The consultation should include parents, schools, diocesan bodies, Governors, other local authorities and others who may have an interest.

Once the consultation is completed the findings will be presented to Council in February 2019 who will agree the revised catchment area schools.

Background

Thomas Hepburn Community Secondary School, which has a Published Admission Number (PAN) of 150 for each year group, became a sponsored academy in October 2013 following a number of poor Ofsted Reports (March 2011- Satisfactory, Nov 2012- Inadequate). The academy sponsor was Northern Education Trust (NET). A further Ofsted in Nov 2016 also judged THCA as Inadequate.

Over the past few years admissions numbers into Y7 in THCA have been well below their 150 PAN, and since 2016/17 have fallen year on year with projection figures also not showing any significant increase. For September 2018 the school had 46 pupils allocated a place at the school which NET felt was financially unsustainable to continue to run the school.

2014/15           78 pupils
2015/16           83 pupils
2016/17           90 pupils
2017/18           56 pupils
2018/19           46 pupils (projected)

NET decided to consult on the closure of THCA. Following a period of consultation from February to March 2018, the Minister for Education decided to close the Academy with effect from August 2019, eighteen months earlier than published guidance on closing a maintained school.

There is no published guidance from the DfE on the closure of an Academy.

The closure was to be in two stages:

  • Stage 1 would focus on the 46 pupils in Year 6 who had been allocated THCA for Year 7 to find an alternative school place and the Year 9 pupils at THCA who would move into Year 10 in September 2018, to give them the best chance of GCSE success in a new school. Despite the enormous pressure on the availability of school places, all students have been found alternative school places.
  • This would leave Years 8, 9 and 11 in THCA for the 2018/19 academic year.

The temporary proposal agreed by Cabinet in June 2018

The THCA catchment area consists of 9 primary schools highlighted in the table below.

Across the cluster of primary schools, the number of pupils is such that had they all gone to THCA, the school would have been oversubscribed. However, as THCA has been undersubscribed, a large percentage of pupils have found places in other secondary schools.

This proposal was put into place following discussions with both primary and secondary schools and is based on which secondary school the majority of pupils go to at the present time. Cardinal Hume is not included in this proposal; as a faith school their catchment is on parish boundaries. Emmanuel College was also not included in the proposal as their catchment is by post code across Gateshead and Newcastle.

The new catchment areas see the primary schools in the THCA catchment re-designated to Heworth Grange and Joseph Swan Academies as follows:

Proposed Heworth Grange catchment 
SchoolPAN
Bede*30
Bill Quay30
Brandling*30
Colegate*45
Falla Park*30
Lingey House60
Roman Road30
The Drive29
Wardley45
White Mere30
Windy Nook*45
Total404
Proposed Joseph Swan Catchment 
SchoolPAN
Carr Hill*45
Fell Dyke*45
Glynwood60
Harlow Green60
Kells Lane60
Kelvin Grove60
Larkspur*29
Oakfield Junior60
South Street*44
Total463

*previously Thomas Hepburn Community Academy catchment primary schools

The changes above were initially proposed for one year only in order to give children in THCA's catchment area a priority for admissions to secondary school in September 2019. The current consultation is to determine the permanent change in THCA catchment areas.

The current proposal

Download Icon for pdf Appendix 1: Maps of secondary school catchment areas - existing and proposed [3.79MB]

Heworth Grange School

Given the location of the school in relation to the re-designated primary schools or the current linked primary schools, there are no options to consider any alternative secondary school on a permanent basis.

Proposed Heworth Grange catchment 
SchoolPAN
Bede*30
Bill Quay30
Brandling*30
Colegate*45
Falla Park*30
Lingey House60
Roman Road30
The Drive29
Wardley45
White Mere30
Windy Nook*45
Total404
Proposed Joseph Swan Catchment 
SchoolPAN
Carr Hill*45
Glynwood60
Harlow Green60
Kells Lane60
Larkspur*29
Oakfield Junior60
South Street*44
Total358

*previously Thomas Hepburn Community Academy catchment primary schools

Joseph Swan Academy

Given the previous pattern of admissions and the availability of transport, the following schools could be allocated to another secondary school:

  • Fell Dyke Primary School
    This school serves the area of Wrekenton and Springwell Estate. There are established school bus services to Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy whose current catchment area for Birtley East Primary School incorporates Eighton Banks. Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy has historically attracted a number of students from this area and given the large increase in numbers for Joseph Swan Academy this proposal may give a more even distribution of students from the area.

    There are also established school bus links to Joseph Swan Academy from this area and the school also attracts a number of students from this area.

  • Kelvin Grove Primary School
    This school serves the south of the Avenues area from Whitehall Road to Shipcote including Saltwell Park. Other schools in the area, Brighton Avenue and Caedmon Primary Schools are currently within the catchment area for Kingsmeadow Community Comprehensive School in Dunston. There is an established school bus service to Kingsmeadow from the Avenues area and admissions to the school from established Kingsmeadow catchment schools in the area are evenly split between Joseph Swan and Kingsmeadow due to the proximity of the schools.
    There are also established school bus links to Joseph Swan Academy from this area and the school continues to attract students from the area.
    Using distance as the crow flies, Kelvin Grove Primary School is 1.7 miles from Kingsmeadow Comprehensive School and 1.4 miles from Joseph Swan Academy.

Other catchment areas

In light of the above proposed changes, we are taking the opportunity to look at other secondary school catchment areas and propose the following changes to distribute pupils more fairly .

Download Icon for pdf Appendix 2: List of current primary schools allocated to secondary schools [69.84KB]

  • Kingsmeadow Community Comprehensive School
    There is large scale house building planned for the Dunston area, however, following the closure of Thomas Hepburn Community Academy, the proposal is for a large number of additional students to be included within the catchment area of Joseph Swan Academy. To address this, as above, we are proposing that Kelvin Grove Primary School becomes part of the Kingsmeadow catchment area for all of the Avenues area to be covered by one secondary school.
    No other changes are being considered at this time.
  • Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy
    There is large scale house building in the Birtley area, however, historically students from the Wrekenton and Springwell Village area have chosen to attend Lord Lawson and there is established school transport. The current catchment area of Birtley East Primary School includes Eighton Banks which backs on to the catchment area for Fell Dyke Primary School. We are therefore proposing that Fell Dyke Community Primary School becomes part of Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy catchment area to further reduce the numbers of children in the Joseph Swan catchment area.
    No other changes are being considered at this time.
  • Thorp Academy
    There are no changes being considered at this time.
  • Whickham School
    There are no changes being considered at this time.

 

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