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Primary numbers 'no secret'
This is the full response provided to the Guernsey Press on 20-4-12 on which they based their story of 10-5-12
As with all States Departments, the Education Department is tasked with achieving significant efficiency savings over the coming years.
The need to look at the rationalisation of the primary sector has not only been recognised by Mr Mulkerrin but was also identified by the consultants managing the Financial Transformation Programme (FTP). There is a specific workstream to 'Align schools capacity to the Island demographic'.
Indeed the Policy Council's report on the potential long term implications of demographic and population change on the demand for and costs of public services, published in March 2012, notes 'As fertility rates have fallen in the last 40 years and the youngest of the 'baby boom' generation are now moving beyond their child bearing age the number of children being born in the Island is projected to fall over the next thirty years resulting in a smaller number of children than in the current demographic profile.'
The Education Department is working with the FTP team to develop a robust, evidence-based business case for how this workstream can be delivered. This is a complex process, as can be seen from the Department's previous States Report, published in January 2009, which outlined how the capacity of individual schools could be measured.
Until this work is completed the Department does not feel it appropriate to comment further on the number of spare places in the primary sector.
Average class sizes and pupil:teacher ratios are published in the Department's Annual Report.
With regards to the process followed in cases of over-subscription, the Department's School Admissions Policy is published on its website and states: In the event of there being insufficient places at a catchment school for pupils within the catchment area, places are allocated according to the following order of priority at the date of admission:-
(i) children who have on the roll of the school a brother or sister who will continue to attend that school for the following year;
(ii) children living nearest to the school being given preference.
In drawing up catchment areas, the Department has sought to ensure that they reflect the diversity of the community served by the school. In the event that it is not possible to accommodate a pupil in his/her catchment school, the next nearest school will be allocated according to distance between home and school and ease of access by public transport or the proximity of school bus routes.