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An exciting opportunity for St. John’s Primary School to grow to one form entry





Consultation on the above proposal closed at 12 noon on Tuesday 16th May

Consultation feedback received = 6 (within the consultation feedback time) and 5 (after the closing date


The governors thank all those who submitted feedback on the proposed increase to our PAN from 15 to 30 as from 2024 and on the expansion of our school premises to create additional classrooms/accommodation and facilities for a one-form entry school. We are grateful for the positive comments made and for the points raised. The consultation feedback will be part of our Governing Board meeting agenda on 27/06/23 where all the consultation feedback will be available for discussion and consideration.’

An exciting opportunity for St. John’s Primary School to grow to one form entry

Due to the increased need for primary school places in Rochdale and particularly in the Castleton area next year (2020), Rochdale Local Authority (LA) have proposed to increase St. John’s PAN from 15 to 30 in each class and on 28th March the Council agreed to fund the expansion needed to accommodate this.


The proposal has been made due to increased demand for school places in the Castleton and Middleton areas mainly due to recent housing developments across Castleton and Middleton. 


Over several years our school has been oversubscribed in many year groups and as governors we are proud that St. John’s is a popular school. Being a small school, particularly in the current climate is difficult and this growth will enable the school to continue to provide the best education opportunities for our children.


As we are a Voluntary Aided School, the Church of England owns the land and the school building. Manchester CE Diocesan Education Board fully support the growth of small schools to ensure sustainability. The Cranmer Education Trust, who we hope to join, are fully aware and in support of the growth in order to support the need for additional places in Rochdale.   Therefore, Manchester Diocese along with Cranmer Education Trust and the school governing board support the local authority’s proposal to build additional classroom and facilities to enable the school to admit 30 children each year from September 2024.


The Governing Board is expected to consult with parents/carers and others in the community to ensure that as partners of the school your voice is heard and as always, we value your views.  For more information on the official arrangements for enlarging schools please see the DfE statutory guidance “Making significant changes- prescribed alterations to maintained schools.”


The Governing Board have made the decision, based on best practice, to gather any thoughts or points of view from parents/carers, other local schools and members of the local community over a period of 4 weeks.


The Governing Board therefore gives notice that Rochdale Borough Council, Children’s Services, Number One, Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, OL16 1XU, intends to make a prescribed alteration to St John’s CE Primary School, Thornham.


If the proposal proceeds and the additional accommodation is provided by Rochdale Local Authority, the Governing Board have indicated that they will admit 30 children per year from September 2024. 


Details relating to the proposal are outlined further below.


Proposal for St. John’s CE. Thornham

What is proposed?

The proposal is to enlarge St John’s CE Primary School premises with an additional four classrooms and amenities such as toilets, kitchen enlargement, new hall, staff room, storage and additional play space to enable the Pupil Admission Number (PAN) to permanently increase from 15 places to 30 places. This will mean our classes will no longer be mixed and will be straight year groups. The PAN will change for Reception places in 2024 and subsequent years following.


Current school capacity

The current age range of the children at St John’s is from 4 to 11 years. St John’s Primary School is currently half from entry with 15 children in each year group, with most classes containing two different year groups. The school currently has a PAN of 105. For the last five years we have more children applying for reception places than we can admit.


Reasons for the expansion of places

Rochdale Borough Council needs to make sure there are enough primary school places for those who need them, taking account of the demographic growth, change and demand for places. Previous analysis of data and thorough consultation has shown that there are three key factors driving the need for more school places in Middleton Township and Rochdale South Township:


  1. An increase in birth rate in both townships up to 2025
  2. Movement of families into the borough and township, which is creating a lack of capacity for in-year transfers, with an ongoing issue of lack of spare places in Key Stage 2-year groups.
  3. New housing developments currently under construction, already proposed additional housing and scheduled in Rochdale 5-year housing strategy plan in both Castleton and Middleton


The proposal to increase the number of school places at St John’s CE Primary will help to make sure that there are enough school places available for families within a reasonable distance of our popular school.  There isn’t the capacity for other local schools to increase their PAN who sit between both the Castleton and Middleton areas.


This build is not linked to the Places for Everyone plans for the greenbelt areas; the build is to ensure additional places can be created for current demand in Castleton and Middleton.


Quality of provision

The current OFSTED report for St John’s CE Primary was published in November 2022 and the school was judged as ‘Good’ for overall effectiveness.


The advantage of the proposal to the school and the children will be:

  • Creation of extra capacity in an area of high demand
  • Greater flexibility of organisation within the school and an increase in the school financial budget
  • Improved classroom accommodation and facilities
  • Additional spaces for small group work and extra-curricular activities
  • Capacity to retain high quality staff
  • Greater provision for parental choice
  • An increase in school places for parents wanting Church school provision and meeting the needs of our local community


The Governing Body of St John’s CE Primary is committed to upholding the standards and ethos of the School. Through the Leadership and Management Team working alongside the Governing Board, the school aspires to provide a strong education to all of the children in its community. The school will maintain all staffing ratios: resources for which are provided through the school funding formula, and which will be increased accordingly each year as numbers grow.


How to respond to the proposal

Any person can make representations on the proposal by email or in writing to the school addres by 12 noon on Tuesday 16th May.


Yours sincerely


Mrs Hunter and St. John’s Governing Board


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