As some of you may already be aware Chapelford Village Primary School, as an already popular and oversubscribed school, has been approached by Warrington Borough Council to provide an additional 120 temporary places to pupils at Key Stage 2 to meet the demand of in year admissions in West Warrington. The final decision for this project was only agreed by cabinet last week.
We would like to take this opportunity to reassure our parents that we would not agree to this temporary increase in pupil numbers if we did not feel this would be a positive development for our school, our children and our community.
Smaller class sizes: In the last twelve months the school has received unprecedented demand for admissions, especially for places in Key Stage 2 (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6). As a result, year groups in Key Stage 2 are already significantly oversubscribed. This means class sizes have increased to well over 30 pupils to meet demand. We have also been required to attend an increased number of appeals for families desperate to attend our community primary school. This planned increase in classes at Chapelford means we can ensure our class sizes reduce, to continue to provide a highly personalised school experience for your children and support our older pupils to prepare, with increased independence, for their transition to secondary school.
Building improvement: The increase of one class in each year group in Key Stage 2 means that some additional buildings will be required on the school site. Warrington Borough Council will fund this building work, which will enable us to further enhance our existing accommodation. It is intended that the capital investment will fund an additional eco, state of the art modular building to be located at the back of the existing Year 6 classrooms. This new, permanent modular building will become the Year 6 department. The building will comprise of four fully accessible, air-conditioned classrooms with integrated technology to support learning. An additional social and dining space for Year 6 pupils is also included in the design. This is currently a proposal and will be subject to change and planning approvals.
Enhancement to school grounds: As part of the growth project Chapelford will also benefit from an enhancement to the current school grounds, supported by Omega Multi Academy Trust, to support the increased number of pupils in enhanced outdoor play and learning spaces. The plans for the development of the grounds will be shared soon.
Classroom organisation: The additional 120 places created by the implementation of the modular building will be allocated across Years 3,4,5 and 6 from September 2023. Years 3,4 ,5 and 6 will increase from 3 classes per year group to 4. For September 2023 this will require class reorganisation for the new academic year in these year groups. To support this process pupils and parents will be consulted, as a priority, about friendship preference for the new classes. This information will be taken into consideration to meet the best learning needs of children in these year groups. New classes and allocated class teachers will be shared with parents in the weeks ahead in line with the rest of the school.
Additional staffing: Staffing recruitment for the growth project has already been undertaken and the school has also increased its capacity at a school leadership level to support the temporary growth of the school. Pupils will, as always, be meeting their new class teachers and class peers before we finish for the summer holiday as part of our planned transition.
Programme of works: The works for the planned modular building will commence over the imminent summer holiday. It is estimated that this will be complete for the start of the second half of the Autumn Term 23 (November 2023). The temporary operational and accommodation plans are currently being devised. During the construction period we will be using existing space in school temporarily to ensure that Year 6 has effective learning provision from the start of the academic year. This will include the use of additional teaching staff to support learning in smaller groups in the main school building whilst the construction is taking place. Please be assured that pupils’ learning will remain a priority throughout the process and we will be using our expertise and knowledge from previous growth builds to support this project.
To support effective communication through this process we will share developments on our website. Below you can see frequently asked questions in relation to the building project and increased growth at Chapelford so that our school community is kept well informed throughout the process. Where possible we will also be involving Year 6 in the decision-making process to ensure that this new facility meets their needs.
As a school and Trust, we see this as an exciting opportunity to open our vibrant and high-quality learning provision at Chapelford to more pupils within our community and enhance our current indoor and outdoor learning spaces. The addition of a separate Year 6 learning hub for our oldest pupils will enable us to have enhanced learning facilities that will promote independence that will support them effectively in their transition to high school.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Does this affect the current Reception, Year 1 or Year 6?
No. The current Reception and Year 1 will remain in three classes in September 2023. The current Year 6 will remain in three classes until the end of the Year.
- Will my child be with their friends?
Preferences for class friends will be requested from the school. Please discuss these friendship preferences with your child. These should be friendships that best support effective learning in the classroom as your child will have social time with their wider social group. Following this the school with allocate classes based upon the most effective learning needs of all pupils.
- Where will my child’s classroom be until the building is completed?
From September 2023, all year groups from Reception to Year 5 will be in their new classrooms and a map of the school and staffing structure will be shared in your child’s end of year report. Year 6 (current Year 5) pupils will be temporarily accommodated in additional learning spaces across the school. These areas will be fully functional as learning spaces with integrated technology and resources to ensure high quality teaching and learning. This opportunity will allow Year 6 pupils to learn at times in smaller groups with additional teaching staff. It is anticipated that Year 6 will move to their new purpose-built building at the start of autumn 2 (November).
- Who will my child’s class teacher be and when will my child meet them?
Class teacher allocations and classes will be shared with children’s individual school reports. Children will have an opportunity to meet their new teacher in their new classes before the end of term.
- Where will the children have their lunches and playtimes during the building work?
We recognise that play times and lunch times are an important part of your child’s day in school, and we have taken measures to ensure that these times run as smoothly as possible with little disruption for the children. As we still have additional play spaces to use, the children will still be able to access outdoor playtime provision as normal. There may be some changes as to where your child eats their lunch, and we are in the process of reviewing the plans for this including an additional servery across the school. We have also planned for an additional dining space in the new building which, once ready, will provide additional space to be timetabled across the school. We are also enhancing our outdoor play spaces over the next academic year with the first addition of a football area, grassed area and netball area on the front playground space.
- Is my child’s class likely to become oversubscribed in the future?
With the additional class being allocated to year groups in KS2, this makes it highly unlikely that your child’s class will exceed 30. Without the extra class and the ever-growing demand for places at Chapelford, most classes in KS2 were becoming oversubscribed with some reaching 34 pupils. The growth of the school should ensure that class sizes remain at 30 and under. Only in very exceptional, individual circumstances would Warrington Council ask us to go over that number.
- Will all the additional teaching staff be qualified teachers?
Yes, all class teachers are qualified teachers, with additional middle and senior leaders to support capacity at all levels.
- How will the children be grouped into new classes?
To support the growth across each of the KS2 year groups classes will be reorganised taking into account individual children’s needs and abilities. Three friendship preferences will be requested from each child to support the transition to new classes.
- Will children know their new class and teacher before the summer break?
Yes, all children will meet their new teacher in their new class and complete team building and transition activities.
- Why can’t the classes stay as they are and grow an additional class for new arrivals?
As the current year groups are already oversubscribed, some classes by 10%, the most effective way to group children is by reorganising into four classes. This will ensure all children at Chapelford have equity in the quality of education, personal development and class sizes.
- How will the children be prepared for the changes to the classes?
Class teachers will be completing circle time activities, information will be shared regarding the changes and the impact on the children. This will include discussing any worries and the benefits to the classes and school. Parents are also encouraged to talk to the children about friendship preferences that are most supportive to effective learning in class.
- My child has already had disruption to their teaching and learning during the Covid pandemic. Will this have an impact on the quality of learning?
The school has ensured that the growth strategy will continue to support a quality education by employing qualified teaching staff who are in the process of completing a robust induction and continuous professional development. The school has also previously completed two growth projects including a school new build with relocation and a 7-classroom increase. The learning from these projects is supporting the current planned strategy and the schools’ outcomes at the end of key stage 2 are in the top 20% of schools nationally in 2022.
- Will the new classrooms be positive learning environment for the children?
Yes, the building will be a state-of-the-art eco building with 4 classrooms, fully resourced including iPad and teacher touch screens, toilet facilities and a dining/additional social space. This project will also include enhancements to the play space between the existing and new building.
- Why is it Year 6 moving into the new building and learning in other spaces whilst waiting for the completion of the building?
The decision was made as it was felt that the Year 6 children could manage the change well and that it will also support effective transition to high school. This is because, whilst the building is finalised, the children will be taught in other areas of school until the building is ready. This includes rooms that are currently used for large meetings, community lettings, library and Art/DT room. All these rooms will be fully prepared during the summer and be fully functioning learning spaces for September. This will include furniture, resources and technology. In addition to this, to support the year 6 teaching structure, two additional teachers who are assistant heads, will also teach across the year 6 classes each morning and an additional Maths teacher for two days a week. This will allow for smaller group targeted teaching and learning across year 6. This strategy has been used before to support the quality of education and consistency of learning for all year 6 children with positive impact on achievement and progress.
- Why is this happening so quickly?
This is because Warrington, as a local authority, have a legal duty to admit children into a school within a reasonable distance to where they live, and this is what is leading to larger class sizes in all schools in the local area. The demand Chapelford has seen for in year admissions to Key Stage 2 places is significant and highly likely to continue moving forwards.
The below video is an example of the style of eco classroom being built at Chapelford, it is not the same as our Year 6 area. The images at the top of the page are a representation of our our new Year 6 area.
Link to other Bridge Eco Classroom projects:
Bridge Eco Classroom brochure:
The building team have been very busy over the summer working hard on the new Year 6 building. Here you can see some photos of the work that has gone on over the last few weeks including giant screws going into the ground, the foundations being laid and even some windows have gone in! You will also notice that we have developed our play areas by adding a multi use games area and a Crinkle Crags climbing frame to be used by all children across school. It's very exciting to see the new classrooms and play areas emerging and we look forward to giving you further updates soon.
The teachers have been very busy making the Year 6 spaces a wonderful and engaging learning environment for all the children. The teachers are so excited to see lots of happy, smiling children filling these rooms and making them their own with lots of excellent learning. We are really looking forward to sharing these spaces with parents and carers.