Bristol Post-16 Place Planning Crisis Looms

A huge increase in the number of young people looking to attend further education in Bristol, will see a new crisis emerge in the number of places available to meet demand. In the academic year 2018/19, there were 21,199 young people in Bristol, a number set to rise to 31,498 by 2026/27.

The number of 15-19 year olds is set to be one of the biggest population increases in Bristol by 2026, according to a report going to Cabinet this week.

Figures taken from the October 2018 school census and the NCCIS tracking data from May 2019, shows there was an estimated roll of 6857 post 16 pupils during the academic year 2018/19. The numbers of young people on roll is set to rise to 8057 by 2026.

Source: Bristol City Council Cabinet reports 01 December 2020

According to council papers, the post-16 place shortage will also affect neighbouring Local Authorities. Currently, 1424 Bristol post-16 students travel outside of the city for their education. Bristol City Council believes that unless capacity is also increased outside of the city, it will also add to the ‘extra strain’ on Bristol’s provision.

The shortage will also hit young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, with a further predicted shortage in Alternative Learning Provision (ALP) and specialist sixth form, which includes Bristol Hospital Education, independent ALPs and Special Education Needs.

At Cabinet in December, £4.5m is being asked from allocated Send project funding, to go to Cabot Learning Federation (CLF) to fund a new sixth form in the East Central area of the city. As part of a plan to address a shortfall of year 7 secondary school places in the same area, Bristol Brunel Academy (BBA) and John Cabot Academy, are proposing to move their post-16 students to another CLF site in South Gloucestershire, allowing the emptied space to be used for additional year 7 pupils.

The £4.5m will be taken from funding allocated to Claremont Temporary Accommodation (£2,258,119) , Claremont redevelopment (£795,767) and Hawking House (£1,446,114).

If the proposals are approved by Cabinet, the Send funding allocation is anticipated to be covered by the new basic need capital funding to be announced by the DfE in March 2021.

Should the future basic need grant not become available, council papers state that the impact of this could cause ‘potential delay in delivering SEND projects.’

A decision will be taken at Cabinet on Tuesday 01 December 2020.