Wimborne Academy Trust (WAT) had undertaken the consultation process as it said there had been a reduction in the number of young families living locally. The change would have meant there would be one class per year, instead of two. There was concern that this would reduce choice for parents, as Hillside is the only school offering nondenominational first school places in Verwood. Parents were also worried the move could lead to reduced funding.
In a letter sent to parents and carers, Liz West, CEO of WAT and Hillside Headteacher Jeremy Harrison thanked everyone who had responded to the consultation. It said, “Every response, which included those from other stakeholders including the town and county councils, was carefully considered.
“Crucially, it has become clear that more pupils than previously anticipated will be seeking school places in Verwood that year.
“As you are aware, the proposal had been to halve that number because of the likely reduction in Reception-aged children.
“After detailed discussions and analysis of the responses and the new information on pupil applications, we have decided to keep the Pupil Admissions Number (PAN) at 60.
“The trust will now work with the Hillside Academy Committee to explore other approaches to managing any unfilled places at the school.”
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