The number of classes in a school is determined by the number of children likely to need them. This makes sense most of the time. There are a number of complex ways to work this out and by and large we do end up with the right number of classes in all our schools for the number of children.
Fulbourn Primary School numbers has been hit by the Windmill Estate being replaced with new housing. People have left the estate and have not been replaced yet in the new housing because they have not been built. In fact the rate of building has slowed because of the economic climate making this dip in school numbers worse and longer than expected. This means that for a short period school numbers would have fallen enough to lose the seventh class resulting in all the other classes getting much bigger and a teacher leaving.
Sometimes unusual factors threaten the formula and this is where people have to step in and make the correct decision even if it means bending the rules. I was asked to step in by a school governor who frankly did not believe that much could be done but was desperate to save the class.
I meet with the Head to discuss the matter. As a result I arranged for the County Councils School Organisation and Planning Officer and the County’s Schools Finance Manager to meet with the Head and me to see what could be done to manage this extraordinary situation.
The Head and I wrote a compelling business case for the retention of the seventh class which we gave to the officers at the end of our meeting. We argued strongly that this was an exception and that the class would be needed.
SUCCESS. Our case was made, understood and accepted. Against all our hopes the class is saved for another year. This felt good and reminded me why I stood as a county councillor.