RAAC

RAAC school faces £2m hit after pupils go elsewhere

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust is not the only MAT complaining of drops in numbers at RAAC-affected schools

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust is not the only MAT complaining of drops in numbers at RAAC-affected schools

29 Jun 2024, 5:00

More from this author

Exclusive

One of England’s worst-hit RAAC schools has launched a bid for more government cash as it fears £2 million losses after its intake tumbled by a third. 

Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust CEO Nick Hurn believes the fall – which he blames on the crumbly concrete crisis – shows that the impact of the crisis is “going to be felt for years”. 

Meanwhile, leaders of one Norfolk primary are also gathering “evidence” to lodge with the Department for Education after witnessing what they believe to be a RAAC-induced drop in numbers.

Emma Harrison, business leadership specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said that, if ministers had sought to deal with RAAC before it “reached crisis point, some of these problems could have been avoided”. 

“We do have members in RAAC-affected schools that have reported reduced admission applications for September, as well as in-year pupil transfers to neighbouring schools. 

“This clearly is going to have a significant impact and there needs to be a system of financial protection put in place for schools dealing with declining rolls as a consequence of RAAC.” 

At St Leonard’s, the secondary is set to welcome 168 children to its year 7 cohort in September. The figure is well short of the school’s 232-pupil admission number.

Estimates shared by Bishop Wilkinson suggest the shortfall could equate to a £2 million loss by the time the children finish their sixth-form studies.

Nick Hurn
Nick Hurn

 Hurn confirmed he has submitted a request to the DfE for the school to receive the same level of funding as last year. He noted that “every year group has been full and oversubscribed for the last 10 years”. 

“With applications having to be made in October, all the things we’ve managed to put in place since then have not had an effect on numbers. If it hadn’t been for RAAC, we’d have been full again.”

‘Look, can you fund this?’

Meanwhile Oliver Burwood, who runs the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust, said the concrete issue is believed to have contributed to reduced numbers at the Thomas Bullock school in Thetford. 

He described it as an “improving” school. It’s not “in an area of demographic decline, like some of our schools – the only difference is RAAC”.

Burwood is “trying to put together some evidence to put to our contact there [at DfE] to say, ‘Look, can you fund this?’” 

The Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust has also reported smaller-than-expected admissions numbers at one of its two RAAC-affected schools. 

The numbers entering the Christ Church CofE Academy at reception have “dramatically” fallen from 27 in 2022-23, to 16 for the next academic year. 

Chief executive Carol Dewhurst said: “We can see parents have opted to take their children to schools that haven’t had RAAC.” 

Despite this, Dewhurst argued there had been some “hidden positives”, including extensive renovations to buildings and additional investment in IT equipment.

 Harrison added: “The impact of the RAAC crisis is going to have a long tail and cause financial detriment for schools for years to come. They need to be supported throughout this process.”

The DfE said it would be misleading to suggest that three schools having a lower intake of pupils is representative of the experience of every setting affected. Other RAAC schools we contacted also said they had not witnessed a pupil drop.

The DfE stressed that the government has confirmed funding to remove RAAC for good from schools and colleges, either through grants or the school rebuilding programme.

Latest education roles from

INCLUSION PRACTITIONER

INCLUSION PRACTITIONER

Milton Keynes College

HOSPITALITY LECTURER

HOSPITALITY LECTURER

Milton Keynes College

Vocational Skills Coach and Technician: Science

Vocational Skills Coach and Technician: Science

Milton Keynes College

DIGITAL SKILLS TUTOR

DIGITAL SKILLS TUTOR

Milton Keynes College

EDUCATION and EXAM ADMINISTRATOR

EDUCATION and EXAM ADMINISTRATOR

Milton Keynes College

Caretaker

Caretaker

Milton Keynes College

Sponsored posts

Sponsored post

Navigating NPQ Funding Cuts: Discover Leader Apprenticeships with NPQs

Recent cuts to NPQ funding, as reported by Schools Week, mean 14,000 schools previously eligible for scholarships now face...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How do you tackle the MIS dilemma?

With good planning, attention to detail, and clear communication, switching MIS can be a smooth and straightforward process, but...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

How can we prepare learners for their future in an ever-changing world?

By focusing their curriculums on transferable skills, digital skills, and sustainability, schools and colleges can be confident that learners...

SWAdvertorial
Sponsored post

Inspiring Education Leaders for 10 Years

The 10th Inspiring Leadership Conference is to be held on 13 and 14 June 2024 at the ICC in...

SWAdvertorial

More from this theme

RAAC

Ministers snubbed school bids to repair RAAC buildings

Findings put the issue of inadequate capital investment under the spotlight once again

Jack Dyson
RAAC

RAAC: 119 schools to be rebuilt, 110 will get removal grants

234 schools have now been identified as having confirmed RAAC

Freddie Whittaker
RAAC

Ofsted rejects RAAC school inspection exemption call

But crumbly concrete disruption will be 'sufficient grounds to defer the inspection'

Freddie Whittaker
RAAC

RAAC: Schools get extra cash for out-of-hours lessons

Government has promised funding to help convince teachers to hold extra classes in the holidays

Jack Dyson

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *