To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform and the Corporate Director of Education and Young People’s Services thatprovides the Cabinet Committee with the opportunity to comment on the Commissioning Plan for Education Provision 2015-19 prior to final approval by Cabinet.
(Report by Mr R Gough, Cabinet Member for Education and Health Reform and Mr P Leeson, Corporate Director for Education and Young People’s Service)
(Mr K Shovelton, Director Planning and Access and Mr D Adams, Area Education Officer, South Kent, were present for this item)
1. The Cabinet Member, Mr Gough introduced the report that sets out the Commissioning Plan includes clear proposals for increased provision in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and looks ahead to 2019 with forecast data about additional places required. He advised that there had been more temporary school expansions than predicted. The numbers in need of a school place increased due to inward migration into the County. This increase had reduced the surplus capacity of school places across the primary school sector. Seven out of 12 Kent districts were now at below 5% surplus capacity.
2. Mr Leeson said that he was grateful for the positive response from those Kent schools that managed the delivery of expansions to their schools on time.
3. The Director of Planning and Access, Mr Shovelton, advised that 95% of parental preferences for school places were met this year and the 758 additional children seeking places after National Offer day had all been offered a school place for September.
4. Mr Gough, Mr Leeson, Mr Shovelton and Mr Adams responded to questions by Members as follows:
· Mr Adams advised that it was a constant challenge to know when housing developments would come on line. If Members considered that any data in the Commissioning Plan was considered technically incorrect this could be looked at. Mr Gough advised that there were continual discussions on progress on their local plans with all 12 district councils.
· Mr Leeson stated that he did not expect the number of children with SEN to increase although there was an increase in children assessed with autism and communication difficulties.
· A Member stated that the need for school places in Gravesend was critical and families were dissatisfied with the school allocated. Mr Leeson advised that the Commissioning Plan gave the forecast data about for school places for 5 years with more detail for the first 2 years. It was the responsibility of the local authority to provide places - the admission arrangements were a separate issue. Mr Gough advised that Kent had made its forecast with a high degree of accuracy. He accepted that Gravesend had significant pressures. Mr Shovelton advised that 4 schools had been expanded in Gravesend but there had been pressure on places in year groups further up the schools from increased inward migration by established families.
5. Mr Cowan said that he could not endorse the document.
6. RESOLVED that:-
a) the responses to questions by Members be noted; and
b) the Commissioning Plan be endorsed by the Cabinet Committee prior to the final version being considered and approved by Cabinet on 13 October 2014.