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. Broomhill Bank has a Designated Number of 210, but there is pressure for the school to accept additional pupils to meet demand in both West and North Kent. The Broomhill Bank Governing Body, with support from KCC, is proposing to increase the school’s Designated Number from 210 to 318 places from September 2020.
Feasibility work and curriculum analysis has been undertaken across both school sites to ensure the school can meet the needs of the additional number of pupils proposed. This work indicates that the school will need increased classroom provision, car parking and school access changes; alongside enhancement of existing sports provision at the Broomhill Bank North site at Swanley, and additional sports provision at the West site in Tunbridge Wells. Additional modular accommodation will be required on both the West and North sites as well as internal reconfiguration within existing buildings.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Swanley; Tunbridge Wells West;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 12/05/2020
Decision due: Not before 24th Jun 2020 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Lead director: David Adams
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Nick Abrahams, Area Education Officer – West Kent Tel: 03000 410058 Email: Nicholas.Abrahams@kent.gov.uk.
In accordance with the Department for Education’s Statutory Guidance (October 2018): Making ‘prescribed alterations’ to maintained schools, there is a need to undertake a formal statutory consultation process.
There will be an informal education consultation from 1st May 2020 to 8th June 2020. Further information is available on the School Consultation webpage:
Subject to the decision from the Cabinet Member, a Public Notice is planned to run from 19th June to 17th July 2020
Decision by the Cabinet Member outside of Cabinet Committee would be needed to enable the statutory process to be completed before the end of the 2019/20 academic year.
The Local Member’s views will be sought and any comments provided will be included in the Cabinet Member report concerning the proposed change.
Financial implications: Feasibility work has been undertaken which estimates the total cost of additional accommodation to be circa £4m, which would be wholly funded by the CYPE Basic Need Capital Budget. The delivery of the additional accommodation to provide capacity for the increased Designated Number is proposed to be delivered over two phases. The first phase of works will deliver the accommodation required for the School Year beginning in September 2020. Detailed costings have been undertaken for these works and a cost of £2m identified. Planning permission would not be required for the works. This would provide the school with the initial capacity it would need to accommodate a staggered increase in pupil numbers. A second phase of works would be undertaken to provide the school with the additional accommodation it requires to accommodate a total roll of 318 pupils in subsequent years. This would include the provision and enhancement of sports facilities... Continued in Cabinet Member report/PRoD.
Legal implications: Contracting for KCC framework building contractors.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been produced and no issues were identified in the early stage EqIA, but the assessment will be reviewed as the project continues.