School which dropped Edward Colston’s name set to reduce intake ‘due to a fall in demand for primary school places’

The school changed its name to Cotham Gardens Primary School in 2018

A primary school which dropped slave trader Edward Colston from its name could have its rolls cut next year due to falling pupil numbers.

Proposals out for public consultation would see Cotham Gardens Primary School, along with Henleaze Infant School, cut their reception year intake by a third in September 2023.

This would mean that both schools would take a maximum of 60 pupils in the 2023/24 reception year instead of the 90 pupils they currently cater for.

Cotham Gardens Primary School, formerly Colston’s Primary School could see its reception intake cut by a third

Cotham Gardens Primary School was one of the first organisations in the city to drop Edward Colston’s name in 2018, having been previously called Colston’s Primary School.

The school made the move as it celebrated its 70th anniversary, and was followed by other schools, concert halls and pubs in the city.

The number of children going to primary school has fallen across Bristol in recent years, and the local authority expects the low numbers to continue.

Figures from Bristol City Council show the number of children at council-run primary schools fell by around 500 last year and by nearly 300 the year before.


Meanwhile, the number of pupils needing secondary school places continues to climb by at least 600 each year amid a shortage of Year 7 places, especially in East Bristol.

Cotham Gardens Primary School, which describes itself as a ‘co-operative’ academy, has proposed cutting its reception year intake to 60 pupils in September 2023.

Its proposal is “due to a fall in demand for primary school places in the area and the financial challenge of operating under capacity”, according to information provided by the council.

The school’s consultation closes January 28.

Meanwhile, Henleaze Infant School’s reception year intake would also be cut to 60 pupils in September 2023 as part of a public consultation on admission arrangements for 2023/24.

“Due to falling pupil numbers across the city over recent years, we have identified some challenges in continuing to operate at the current capacity whilst striving to balance the school budget and deliver the expected high standard of educational provision for all pupils,” the consultation, due to end on January 31, says.

Henleaze Infant School’s reception intake would be cut to 60 under the proposal

“The local authority pupil forecasts indicate that numbers are likely to remain low for the foreseeable future.”

Fifteen other Bristol schools that are their own ‘admission authorities” are also consulting on their admission arrangements for 2023/24, but none are proposing changes to their published admission numbers according to information about the consultations provided by the council.

The schools running their own consultations include Cathedral Choir School, Cathedral Primary School, Victoria Park Primary School, Fairfield High School, May Park Primary School, Oasis Academy Marksbury Road, Summerhill Academy, St Bede’s Catholic College, Westbury Park School and four Venturers’ Trust schools (Bannerman Road, The Kingfisher School, Merchants’ Academy and Sixth Form V6/Montpellier High School).

Most of those consultations are due to close in the next few weeks,

The council has recommended that parents contact individual schools to find out more.