“We will create an environment for learning which builds in discipline and respect for oneself and others. The school will be a safe place for children to thrive and be pushed academically; success and service will be promoted and failure managed to build resilience and self-efficacy. A culture of aspiration, attainment and growth and a commitment to building a supportive community will enable all learners to grow into active and responsible members of society.”
Chairman of the Northampton Free School Trust
Northampton Free School Trust worked with Northamptonshire County Council to establish the level of need for new school places at both the primary and secondary phases, and officers have provided us with their projections as the source for this. As is the case in much of the country, a rise in the birth rates locally is in itself creating pressure on existing schools; in Northampton, this rise is projected to be up to 15% by 2020/21. In addition to this, significant development projects across and just outside the town will continue to add to the number of children requiring school places across all age groups.
Once the LA has completed its process of expansion of the Pupil Admission Numbers (PANs) of some primary schools, there will be a total capacity of 2,880 places available per year group. However, data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in July 2013 shows that there have been over 3,300 live births in Northampton each year since 2010, rising to 3,369 live births in Northampton in 2012. Demographic pressures are already having an impact in the primary phase, with some primary schools close to our proposed site over capacity by more than 30 pupils. In addition to this natural rise in pupil numbers, there will also continue to be a rise in numbers from local developments and inwards migration, particularly of young families to the area.
The need for new places in the secondary phase is also critical. Council projections show that by the academic year 2016/17, when the school will open, the shortfall in secondary places will be almost five forms of entry. By the academic year 2020/21, the shortfall is projected to be up to 19 forms of entry.
By providing 4FE from 2016 onwards, Wootton Park School will contribute to meeting this need as it becomes more extreme, whilst not causing an undue surplus in places in its early years of opening when the school is in its growth phase.