Brentwood school looks towards ‘continuous improvement’ despite fall in new starters

Brentwood County High School (BCHS) will not be reducing the agreed number of students to be admitted each year – even though the number of youngsters who would have been permitted to start this year fell short by 100.

The school, which despite having capacity for 210 students – its published admissions number – welcomed just 120 Year 7s in September.

But it says it is looking towards “continuous improvement” and added that the “reputation of the school is changing in the local area and beyond”.

The number of new starters is down from the 147 children who started in Year 7 in 2019.

The school’s place planning indicates larger numbers of pupils over the next few years and it announced earlier in the year that the Department for Education was supporting a full refurbishment project of the school site, which will allow the intake of 240 children in 2023.

Headteacher Margaret Ryan said: “Our 2020 pupil outcomes demonstrate the continuous improvement and why we are now receiving increasing numbers of admissions applications.

“The reputation of the school is changing in the local area and beyond. We are receiving positive feedback from parents in the local area and those outside the area who have applied for places.”

The school is now launching the Osborne Sixth Form, with an annex at BCHS and an annex St Clere’s School in Thurrock, for September 2021.

She added: “We are not reducing our published admission number because more in year applications have been received already and we anticipate numbers going up year on year.

“We know that there is a national increase in parents electing home education and this is a concern raised by Ofsted this week, on the news. We also have some parents who have decided to home educate as they do not wish their children to travel on public transport.

“We were anticipating Ofsted just before COVID started and welcomed this to happen. We know the improvements will be recognised and, in the meantime, we undertake constant reviews with our new school improvement partner who is also a lead Ofsted inspector and who sits on our trust board.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter