ePetition - Keep Carden Nursery & Primary School as a thriving 2 form entry

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Keep Carden Nursery & Primary School as a thriving 2 form entry

We the undersigned petition Brighton & Hove Council to reject the proposal to reduce the number of pupil places at Carden Primary School to 30, which would be hugely detrimental to the children and staff at the school, as well as the local community.

Situated in the border between Patcham and Hollingbury, Carden Nursery and Primary School has been a thriving community hub for the families of this area since 1948.

Carden is a fantastic school on a trajectory of growth. It has agile leadership that has continued to improve the quality of its educational offer. This has happened regardless of fluctuation of pupil numbers over the years.

The most recent Ofstead inspection (Good, Sep 2021) described the school atmosphere as ‘buoyant’, the early years programme as ‘highly effective’, and recognised pupils’ wider development as a particular strength of the curriculum.

Hence, we strongly reject the proposed reduction of pupils on the following basis:

1- Reducing the intake in the school will mean significant budget cuts, for an area rated in the 20% most deprived in the country.
This puts additional pressures on Carden School because a single-form school:
o is at greater risk of financial difficulties due to lack of economies of scale
o is more likely to attract a higher concentration of SEND pupils than larger primary schools
o will result in staff reductions and fewer resources for building maintenance, equipment and enrichment activities.
This is all to the detriment of current and future pupils.

2- Reducing the PAN at Carden will directly result in more pupils needing to travel to other schools by car, and/or have longer commutes in public transport. This adds to pollution and congestion.
o Carden is at the edge of town, in a hilly area, making it impractical to walk or bike to other schools further away.
o This contravenes the Council’s Climate Emergency plans toward a carbon neutral city
o It also further disadvantages families in this area by increasing their drop-off and pick-up times, and cost of transport.

3- Reducing the number of pupils will tear the social fabric of this truly diverse school where:
o 36% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, 20% have Special Educational Needs, 44% are BAME and 15% have English as an additional language.
o Carden is host to a Speech, Language and Communication Unit, and specialises in this provision.
o Ofsted (Sep 2021) commended the school’s commitment to equality and diversity, and noted Leaders are highly successful at engaging members from all corners of the school community.
o By reducing places available to local families, you will be splitting children in the area from their friends and neighbours, taking away the opportunity to foster interconnecting social tissue and a sense of belonging and pride in the neighbourhood that Carden currently enables.

4- Reducing Carden to a single--form will create significant disparity in choice and outcome for children in Hollingbury and Patcham. This is at best unfair, and at worst discriminatory.

We acknowledge the Council is concerned with surplus primary school places across all of Brighton and Hove. This is particularly projected to affect the City Centre, The Deans and City East.
o We call for an equitable city-wide approach that doesn’t further disadvantage smaller, thriving schools like Carden that often have large well-ventilated buildings with lots of green space to accommodate pupils.
o A reduction of an entire entry form would affect Carden School disproportionally, compared to larger neighbouring schools.

5- We request that an Equalities Impact Assessment be carried out before any more consideration is given to reducing the size of Carden.#

In summary, we strongly request that Carden Primary School remains a viable 2 form entry for the future of our children, neighbourhood and great city.

This ePetition runs from 11/11/2021 to 15/12/2021.

1589 people have signed this ePetition.

 


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