FOI Request - Elgin School Catchment Review

Request 101000425692

Response to the Consultation Report on establishing a new Primary School in South East Elgin.

We have read the above report placed on the Council’s website on 18th March 2016. We are disappointed that the suggestions we put to you in the recent consultation are comprehensibly dismissed, and that the conclusions arrived at are no different from those forming the basis of the consultation.

In particular we are dissatisfied with the explanation given in paragraph 17 of section 4 of the report, and reiterated in section 5, in relation to the accuracy of roll forecasts, which we dispute.

Despite meeting with your officers and requesting more detailed explanation of the figures arrived at, we are unable to understand why you have concluded that the total roll of all of Elgin’s primary schools is forecast to rise by 35% in the seven years 2015 to 2021 (i.e. from 2,170 to 2,916).

Consequently, we are formally requesting under the terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 the statistical evidence used by the Education Service in its formulation of the Elgin school’s forecasts as published in the original 4th February 2015 Children and Young Persons Services Committee report (table in paragraph 3.5), and the subsequent Proposal Paper (table in paragraph 2.9) used for public consultation 13th April to 29th May 2015.

1. The statistical data used to compute Primary One entrants for the 5 years August 2015 to August 2019 per school

2. The statistical evidence used for birth rate trends in the above forecast tables

3. The statistical evidence used for new housebuilding per catchment area, and the numbers of school children estimated from each in the above forecast tables

4. The statistical basis on which placing requests influenced annual roll forecast per school 2015 to 2021 in the above forecast tables

Response 18-04-2016

1. The latest edition of the Moray School Roll Forecasts dated 22 June 2015 used the Community Health Index data provided by NHS Grampian, which gives information on the number of pre-school children by year of birth and postcode, and forms the basis of the primary 1 estimates for 2015 to 2018.  Consideration is also given to children in funded early learning and childcare in Moray.  Beyond this, forecasts are based on recent trends, taking into account the projected number of births in Moray.

2. Birth rate trends are based on live birth and projected birth information produced and published by the National Records of Scotland (formerly known as the General Register Office for Scotland)

3. The latest edition of the Moray School Roll Forecasts dated 22 June 2015 used the housing development information available within the Moray 2015 Housing Land Audit.  The number of school children estimated within new housing developments is 0.15 pupils per household for secondary school calculations and 0.3 pupils per household for primary school calculations.

4. The forecasting method takes into account the effect of placing requests.  This is done by adjusting the primary 1 intake to reflect recent placing request trends.  Not all primary 7 pupils transfer to their zoned secondary school, and an estimate is made on the proportion of primary 7 class rolls that will go into secondary 1 at each secondary school.  Consideration is again given to known placing request trends.  The previous trends will not necessarily be indicative of future trends due to unknown factors, for example, the changing reputation of the school with a positive or negative HMI inspection report, or greater or lower availability of childcare within a school catchment area, etc.  The latest edition of the Moray School Roll Forecasts dated 22 June 2015 used the net number of placing requests that were approved as at 30th April 2015.  Approved placing requests do not necessarily reflect the total number received, as some requests may be refused due to capacity.

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