Given the significant local interest in the number of school places at Woldgate School I decided to do a bit of research into numbers.

I’ve been working on this for a couple of weeks and have been waiting for a response from the Woldgate Learning Partnership to some questions I sent them about capacity. Sadly, I have not received any response, so I looked at what little documentation did exist buried deep in various websites. This is what I have discovered.

All schools must publish a PAN. That’s a ‘Published Admissions Number’ every year. In September 2018 the PAN was 243 but it went down to 208 when the school became an academy in 2019. There is no published explanation about why this happened and who took the decision.

In their latest annual report, the Wolds Learning Partnership state that in September 2023 they will accept 208 pupils into year 7. According to the Trusts annual report this number has not changed since 2019. It was therefore surprising to see the headmaster of Woldgate claim recently that the school will admit 240 pupils into year 7 each year and all children in the current catchment area would be guaranteed a place.

The stated total number of pupils which the school can accommodate has also remained steady at 1,100 since 2017. What does change is the actual number of pupils.

  • October 2017     1,032
  • October 2018     1,085
  • October 2019     1,131
  • October 2020    1,179
  • October 2021     1,215

The figure for 2022 is not yet available.

You will note that the year-on-year trend is up, and the pupil numbers overtook the stated capacity in 2019.

At the end of January, I wrote to the design team at Avison Young who are working on the redevelopment project. In response to my question about school capacity they said:

“Pupil numbers (although taken into account) are not a driver for the proposed redevelopment works. Woldgate is a 8FE school (Years 7-11) with 250 Sixth Form and this will not change as a result of the project.
For information new schools seem to be built to a national template. An 8FE school should accommodate up to 1,200 pupils.”

It is unclear from the above reply if the capacity is 1,200 plus 250 sixth formers or if they are included in the 1,200. Remember the published capacity by the school itself is 1,100.

My take from the response is that the capacity of Woldgate school will not be increased by the development.

In September 2022 in a submission to ERYC planners about the Gladman Planning application for 380 new homes a representative of ERYC education department stated that 44 mainstream secondary school places would be needed as a result of the development. That’s one secondary school place for every 6 houses. It’s also worth remembering that many of the agreed developments have yet to be completed.

Summary – Woldgate School facts

  • The trustees of Wolds Learning Partnership state the school can accommodate 1,100 pupils.
  • In October 2021 Woldgate School had a rollcall of 1,215 pupils.
  • The trustees say the school will accept 208 pupils into year 7 in September 2023
  • The Headmaster of Woldgate recently stated publicly that the school will accept 240 pupils into year 7.
  • The admissions policy for the academic year beginning September 2023 is unchanged.
  • The Headmaster of Woldgate recently stated publicly that the school will continue to accept all children from the current catchment area.
  • Trustees meet this week Wednesday 23rd February to decide whether to adopt the revised admissions policy for the academic year which starts in September 2024. If agreed prioriity will be given to chidren attending the three WLP trust schools.
  • Planners working on the redevelopment say that pupil capacity will not change as a result of the project.
  • There is a discrepancy between what the headmaster says and what is stated in the current WLP documentation


WLP Finance Reports: https://wlp.education/about/finance/
School sizes: https://mycouncil.oxfordshire.gov.uk/…/CMDED_DEC1516R07…
Government School template specifications: https://www.gov.uk/…/area-guidelines-and-net-capacity
ERYC Education response to Gladman: https://pocklingtonbugle.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/22_02830_STREM-EDUCATION_RESPONSE_-_SCHOOL_ORGANISATION-4449710.pdf

You can now share this information via social media, e mail or print.