Dear Parents and Carers,
We are writing to inform you about forthcoming changes due to regeneration and funding at Brunswick Park and to explain in detail the reasons for them.
As you know, there is widespread regeneration in Southwark at the moment to renew old housing stock. This has affected pupil numbers in schools across the Borough. Particularly hard hit is the area around Elephant Park, where local schools have seen their pupil numbers plummet as families are rehoused elsewhere whilst building work is undertaken. In all areas of the Borough where there is regeneration, pupil numbers are reduced, even in schools where there are currently expansion programmes. The areas around Brunswick Park are being redeveloped by Bellway Homes. As a result, families have been rehoused elsewhere, which has reduced pupil numbers at the school. Southwark Council believes pupil numbers will return to previous levels, but that this will take time.
The current government has chosen not to invest in Education, and the introduction of the National Funding Formula through which funding previously allocated to Inner-City schools is instead allocated to schools across the country has resulted in a reduction in funding to Brunswick Park of £160,000.
Brunswick Park is a 2.5 form entry school and receives funding from the Government for 2.5 forms of entry. A form is 30 pupils. 3 form entry schools have 90 pupils per Year Group, and require 3 teachers to teach 30 pupils per class. Brunswick Park has 75 pupils per Year Group, and has never received enough money to fund 3 teachers per Year Group. It has only ever received enough money to fund 2.5. Most schools in this position solve this problem by having mixed-age classes. It is very challenging to provide good quality learning opportunities in mixed age classes, so Senior Leaders and Governors have made the decision to manage money prudently enough to channel funding into running as a 3-form entry school apart from in the current Year 5, in which there are 2 forms of 30 pupils. The present reduction in funding and in pupil numbers means this is no longer possible.
Whilst pupil numbers are lower as a result of local regeneration, Senior Leaders, Governors and the Local Authority have approved the temporary restructure of the school to provide the children with the best education possible with the resources now available. Therefore, in the academic year 2017-18, there will be a reduction in the number of classes in certain Year Groups. The Early Years Foundation Stage will run as a Unit, allowing staff to plan flexible learning opportunities astutely to meet children’s developmental needs. Years 1-6 will look like this:
Year 1: 2 classes Year 4: 2 classes
Year 2: 3 classes Year 5: 3 classes
Year 3: 3 classes Year 6: 2 classes
These changes to the school’s form structure provide a welcome opportunity to regroup children for September. This will be done based upon attainment balance, friendship groupings across the Year Groups and the children’s emotional needs, and is designed to give the children the best opportunities we can to enable them to make the best progress possible.
Pupil progress and attainment has improved year on year since 2014, and we are confident that this restructure is the best way of ensuring improvement continues. Brunswick Park already out performs many local schools and is in the top third of similar schools Nationally. We will carry on doing the best we can for your children. On 4 July we will receive Year 6 pupils’ SATs test results, and will write to you again as soon as possible after that date with results information across the school and staffing arrangements from September. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the content of this letter please contact any of its signatories or any member of the Senior Leadership Team.