Agenda item

Decision number: 12/01977/2 Closure of Walmer Science College (Community) from September 2013


(Report Mr P Leeson, Corporate Director for Education, Learning and Skills)


(Mr K Shovelton, Director of Education Planning and Access and Mrs M White, Area Education Officer, East Kent, were present for this item)


1.          The Cabinet Committee considered a report on the responses to the public notice on the proposal to close Walmer Science College (Community) from September 2013.


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


a)    Mr Smith, Local Member, Deal, advised that that the information on page 228 paragraph 2.3 in the report should be removed as Dover District Council had made no decision regarding Walmer Science College.  Mr Smith listed the number of opportunities that members of the public had to respond to the proposal to close Walmer Science College and that no substantial changes had been raised and asked that the decision to close Walmer Science School be taken.


b)    In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that the proposal was about two schools coming together creating one secondary school for the people of Deal and the technical way to bring this about was to close Walmer Science College.


c)     Officers agreed to respond to the request for the breakdown of the 58 comments quoted in paragraph 2.2 of the report and the number of signatures in the petition outside the meeting.


d)    Mr Christie suggested that; this consultation had been badly handled; the voice of the local people not being allowed to be heard was a failing of this Cabinet Committee.  He suggested that a cruel blight had been put on Walmer as the number of pupils applying this year would be affected with the pending decision to close the School and that he would be opposing.


e)    In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that the Academy would be independent of the local authority control however; the local authority had a responsibility for the education of every child and young person in Kent and could request academies to give an account of their performance and their progress.  KCC had a good working relationship with the academies in Kent so this would not be a problem.


f)      The Chairman invited Mr Cowan to speak.  Mr Cowan considered that Dover District Council should have been in a position to make a decision regarding the Walmer Science School. He gave an account of the meeting of Dover Scrutiny Policy and Performance Board he attended where the future of Walmer Science School was discussed and raised concerns about the lack of engagement by KCC in that meeting. He advised that the Scrutiny Policy and Performance Board was unanimous in its recommendation that Walmer Science School should not close and listed the Board’s concerns in making that decision.   He urged the Cabinet Committee not to close Walmer Science School. 


g)    Concern was raised about the clarity of information and terminology used in the decisions and reports to the Cabinet Committee.  Officers would be mindful of the wording in reports in future.


h)     In reply to a question, Mr Leeson advised that there were TUPE arrangements being negotiated at present regarding the teachers.


i)       In response to questions, Mr Leeson advised that the Secretary of State had agreed to a new funding arrangement for Castle Academy which fully guaranteed, with full funding, the rebuilding of the school to accommodate the pupil admission number it would have for the future as a result of the amalgamation of the two schools.  It was anticipated that the new school would be ready in 2016.  The Walmer site would continue to be used for the provision of the newly amalgamated school and beyond that would continue to be used for educational purposes.


3.          The Chairman requested and Members agreed that officers report back on the data regarding pupils, housing etc in the Dover/Deal area to this Cabinet Committee on a regular basis.


4.          Mr Smith moved, Mr Craske seconded, the recommendations set out in the report.


5.          The Chairman then put the recommendations to the vote.  Mr Christie requested the vote to be recorded, whereupon the number of votes caste were:


For (8)

Mr Burgess, Mr Chell, Mrs Cole, Mr Craske, Mr Northey, Mr Ridings, Mr Smith, Mr Tolputt

Against (2)

Mr Christie, Mrs Dean


6.          RESOLVED that:


a)    the responses to comments and questions by Members be noted;


b)    a regular report be submitted to this Cabinet Committee on the data regarding the numbers of pupils and housing etc in the Dover/Deal area be noted;


c)     no statutory objections were received during the public notice period be noted;


d)    the responses received from members of the public would be considered by the Cabinet Member when taking the decision;


e)    that the Education Cabinet Committee endorses the decisions to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Education, Learning and Skills to;


(i)       close Walmer Science College; and


 (ii) authorise the Director of Property and Infrastructure in consultation with the Director of Governance and Law to enter into any necessary contracts/agreements on behalf of the County Council.




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