Agenda item

Verbal Update by Cabinet Member and Corporate Director, Education Learning and Skills


(Report by Mr M Whiting, Cabinet Member, Education, Learning and Skills and Mr P Leeson, Corporate Director, Education, Learning and Skills)


1.               The Chairman invited Mr  Whiting and Mr Leeson to give their verbal updates. Mr whiting began by advising Members on the following:


  • 100 Kent schools had now converted to academy status and a future 17 Kent school were in the process of converting.
  • The approved changes to the school transport arrangements were now in place regarding the denominational schools and 16+ students travel cards. More detail would be submitted at the November meeting of this Cabinet Committee.
  • There was joint working taking place between the Customer and Communities and Education, Learning and Skills Directorates on inspiring future generations to participate in sport.  A new Sports Policy would be published at the end of this year.  
  • Kent Jobs for Kent Young People – There was a first phase awareness campaign encouraging businesses to employ an apprentice.  There had been 250 pledges received from employers to date.


2.               Mr Leeson gave his verbal update and advised Members on the following:-

  • There had been improvement in pupil outcomes in Key Stage 1, 2 and GCSE examination results.
  • There had been significant improvement in primary schools in levels4 and 5.
  • There had been a reduction in schools performing under floor level.
  •  The first Free School, in Kent, “Tiger” opened in September 2012.  The DfE had notice for 4 more Free School for Kent; Hadlow coed 180 pupils, Well Free School coed Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks Free School (Christian) and Wye Fee school coed secondary, Ashford (Christian).  The development of free schools was welcomed especially where there was a need for places.  This gave parents greater choice and provided additional provision.



3.               Members were given the opportunity to make comments and ask questions which included the following:-


a)    It was considered that following the Olympic Games KCC taking a lead to sustain this momentum was welcomed.  Mr Whiting advised that 30,000 pupils in Kent took part in the Kent School Games.

b)    In response to a question, Mr Whiting advised that 31 primary schools had converted to Academy status.  Out of the 17 schools planning to convert 14 were primary schools.  The conversions would be in place in either January or September.

c)     A request was made for parents to be given the option of paying the annual cost of £520 for 16+ transport in instalments.  Mr Whiting advised that the colleges and schools were operating the transactions and were equipped to take staged payments.  The Policy would be reviewed in one year.

d)    Disappointment was expressed at the rail networks refusal to participate in the travel pass scheme which would increase the schemes benefits to Kent young people. 

e)    A request was made for comparative figures on apprenticeship schemes nationally and how Kent compared. Mr Whiting advised that other local authorities had their own schemes such as Dover, Swale and Medway Kent was unique in scale and its collaboration with Job Centre Plus.  He was pleased with the 250 pledges which was moving to the target of 1000.  Mr Leeson added that there were 2000 Kent young people following an apprenticeship.  He agreed to forward the national figures on apprenticeships to Members outside the meeting.


4.               RESOLVED that the responses to comments and questions made by Members  and the information given in the verbal update be noted

Supporting documents: