Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Proposed decision –
The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills proposes to:
a) authorise the allocation of £2.4m from the Children Young People and Education Services Basic Need Capital Budget to deliver the accommodation required for the second phase of building works at Broomhill Bank School;
b) authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services in consultation with KCC General Counsel and the Director of Education to enter into any necessary agreements on behalf of the County Council with the Broomhill Bank School; and
c) delegate authority to the Director for Education to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into necessary contracts or taking other legal actions as required to implement the decision.
Reason for Decision:
KCC, as the Local Authority (LA), has a statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places are available. This duty applies to Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, as well as mainstream settings. The County Council’s Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2020-24 is a five-year rolling plan which is updated annually. It sets out KCC’s future plans as Strategic Commissioner of Education Provision across all types and phases of education in Kent. A copy of the plan can be viewed from this link:
The Commissioning Plan highlights the SEN place pressure that Kent has experienced, with the number of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) increasing significantly in recent years. The most prevalent and fastest growing need type is ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and data indicates that 40% of children and young people aged 0-25 years with EHCPs have ASD as their primary need type.
The demand for ASD places at Broomhill Bank School has increased commensurately, with strong parental preference.
Following a statutory process, the school’s Designated Number was increased from 210 to 318 places on 1st October 2020. Additional accommodation is required to enable the school to accommodate increased pupil numbers. A Cabinet Member Decision is required as a capital allocation of in excess of £1m is necessary.
Feasibility and curriculum analysis work was undertaken across both of the school’s sites to assess the accommodation and resources required for the expansion. It was determined that the additional accommodation to provide capacity for the proposed increased Designated Number would be delivered over two phases. The first phase of works would not require planning permission and would deliver the accommodation required for the School Year beginning in September 2020. Detailed costings identified a cost of £2m for the first phase of work.
The increase to the school’s Designated Number and the authorisation for expenditure on the first phase of works were approved by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills on 24th June 2020 (Decision Number 20/00053).
The proposed second phase would provide the school with the new additional accommodation required to gradually admit pupils up to a total of 318 in subsequent years. This would include the provision and enhancement of sports facilities. It is anticipated that the phase 2 works would be completed within the school year commencing in September 2021. The proposed Decision relates to the allocation of capital funding necessary to enable the second phase of works.
There is limited ASD specific provision available in the West and North of the county, with the nearest Special School to the Broomhill Bank sites with ASD as its main need type having already recently expanded. After exploring the options, the increase in Designated number for Broomhill Bank School was deemed the suitable option.
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:
The provision of sufficient school places is a statutory duty and contributes to theStrategic Business Plan Priorities to ensure that “Children and Young People in Kent get the best start in life”.
As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, I agree to:
i) authorise the allocation of £2.4m from the Children Young People and Education Services Basic Need Capital Budget to deliver the accommodation required for the second phase of building works at Broomhill Bank School.
ii) authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services in consultation with KCC General Counsel and the Director of Education to enter into any necessary agreements on behalf of the County Council with the Broomhill Bank School.
iii) delegate authority to the Director for Education, in consultation with Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services and KCC General Counsel to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into necessary contracts or taking other legal actions as required to implement the decision.
Publication date: 26/01/2021
Date of decision: 26/01/2021
Effective from: 03/02/2021