Full Statutory Proposal for the Change of Age range at Highfields Primary School

Closed 27 May 2024

Opened 29 Apr 2024

Results expected 24 Jun 2024

Feedback expected 1 Jul 2024


Following the initial consultation, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council is now in a formal 4 week representation period on a proposal to lower the age range of Highfields Primary School from 3-11 to 5-11 years of age with effect from September 2024.  The proposal is to change the age range to 5 to 11 years effectively closing the nursery.

The school has experienced a drop in nursery place applications for some time because as a maintained school nursery it cannot provide the flexibility that a lot of parents need. 

In February 2023 the governing body decided to close the nursery temporarily for 2023/24 academic year due to it not being financially viable. 

The school is funding staffing and resources for a 60 place nursery but only filled 27 places in 2022/23 and 33 in 2021/22.  The funding for those children does not cover the cost of staffing or resources. 

School received £4.23 per pupil per hour for up to 15 hours per week, which equates to £2,411 per pupil for 2022/23. 

Total cost for staffing in 2022/23 for a 60 place nursery was £112,478.  Total income from 27 filled nursery places for 2022/23 equated to £65,097.  A deficit of £47,381.  These figures do not take into account any overheads, general running costs, cost of learning resources, equipment and materials.  The deficit is having to be met from the school budget.

At the start of the 2023/24 academic year the governing body reviewed its decision to temporarily close the nursery and are now requesting a permanent closure of the nursery and a change of age range.  The change of age range will not affect the pupil admission number therefore the same number of places will be available for Reception to Year 6.

The Department for Education Statutory Guidance for School Organisation regulations: ‘Making significant changes (‘prescribed alterations’) to maintained schools’ and The School Organisation (Prescribed Alterations to Maintained Schools) (England) Regulations 2013 requires that when the Local Authority is proposing a significant alteration, i.e., a change to the age range, it must consult upon the proposal and make a formal decision to make the alteration permanent. 

An initial consultation was completed between 13 November 2023 and 11 December 2023.  Cabinet approved the decision to publish the Statutory Proposal to change the age range on 13 March 2024. 


Why your views matter

Public consultation is in accordance with the statutory guidance produced by the Department for Education whereby ‘LAs can propose a change of age range of 1 year or more for community schools (including the adding or removal of nursery provision) by following the statutory process set out in the regulations’.

As an integral part of this process, we are inviting you to take part in this consultation. We welcome your views on the proposed changes and all viewpoints will be considered before a final decision is made. 

Following the end of the consultation we shall publish the results and this may include quotes or comments which will be anonymous. 

Please complete the survey and provide your feedback so comments can be considered.

What happens next

Decisions must be made within a period of 2 months of the end of the representation period, or the proposals must be referred to the Schools Adjudicator. 

A decision on this proposal will be made by the Director of Children and Education in consultation with Sandwell’s Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Education within 2 months of the end of this representation period.  If agreed, it is proposed to implement this proposal with effect from 1 September 2024.


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