BRIGHTON has seen a large decline in the number of reception aged children, reflecting council school admission concerns.

According to Census data collected last year, the population of children up to age four living in Brighton and Hove declined by 22 per cent. 

This is a decrease of more than a fifth from ten years ago.

Earlier this academic year Brighton and Hove City Council proposed cuts to several class sizes in a number of schools in the city due to the falling birth rate.

Hundreds of parents from seven primary schools in Brighton opposed plans to cut class sizes in their schools, pleading with the council to take a different approach in how it reduces class sizes for the city’s schools.

The Argus: Rally against proposed admission cuts at Hove Town Hall in December 2021Rally against proposed admission cuts at Hove Town Hall in December 2021

Brighton council ran a six-week consultation from November to January which saw parents from multiple schools gather signatures and let their community’s voices be heard against the proposed classroom cuts.

Parents were concerned that cutting the pupil admissions at Bevendean, Carden, Woodingdean, Rudyard Kipling, Queen's Park, Coldean and Saltdean primary schools will harm children's education due to the subsequent reduction in funding

The council forecasted 325 spare places this September, rising to 744 by 2024, if they were to do nothing.

This would increase the risk of the government stepping in and potentially closing an entire school to meet targets, if the council did not act.

In February this year the council made a U-turn and decided against the cuts due to protests by parents.

Speaking on the new Census data a council spokesman said: “The sharp decline locally and nationally in the number of reception age children due to start school in the coming years is a massive issue.

“We knew this a long time before the new Census data came out.

“The new data will be extremely valuable to us in terms of planning how we deliver services in the coming years.

“There are a huge number of factors that can cause specific Census figures to go up or down.

“With this in mind it would not be appropriate to speculate at this stage on specific reasons for any specific changes in data.”