Issue details

20/00087 - Expansion and relocation of Platt Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School under the Priority School Building Programme Round 2, on behalf of the Department for Education

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:

 

a)    Allocate £1,390,000 to the project, of which £900,000 is to be funded from the Priority Schools Building Programme Budget and £490,000 from the Children Young People and Education Services Basic Need Capital Budget.

 

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 contracts/agreements on behalf of the County Council with the Trustees of Platt CoE Primary School to secure the sale of the current school land with the sale proceeds to be paid to the County Council

 

c)    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 contracts/agreements on behalf of the County Council to secure funding of no less than £3,430,000 from the Department for Education for the project

 

d)    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 contracts/agreements on behalf of the County Council to facilitate and manage the construction of the new school buildings and associated works

 

e)    Authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services to ensure that the appropriate level of funding is received from the Department for Education to cover their agreed share (70%) of any unforeseen costs during the building’s construction to ensure that the County Council minimises any unforeseen costs

 

f)     Authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements and to enter into variations as envisaged under the contracts

 

 

Priority School Building Programme Background;

 

On 1 May 2014, the Minister of State for Schools announced that the Government would fund a further phase of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), with a value of around £2 billion. The new phase, known as PSBP2, was planned to be a five year programme operating between 2015 and 2021 and entailed major rebuilding and refurbishment projects in schools and sixth form colleges in the very worst condition.

 

PSBP was not intended to replace those wider efforts to support local authorities, dioceses, sixth form colleges, academies and multi-academy trusts in addressing the condition needs of their estates.  Rather it was intended to run alongside these in order to address individual projects that were of such a significant scale that it would be difficult to pay for them through regular formulaic maintenance allocations.

 

On 9 February 2015, The Secretary of State for Education and the Minister of State for Schools, announced that 277 schools across the Country had been successful in their applications. KCC were successful for 7 of the schools in addition 6 further schools across Kent where Academies bid directly.  Platt Church of England (CE) Voluntary Aided (VA) Primary was one of the 7 successful KCC school applications.

 

Previously, the first round of PSBP funding had mainly focused on whole school replacement projects, whereas the criteria for PSBP round 2 was amended and was not always centred on replacing all of the school’s accommodation. The emphasis was more upon block replacement and was based on poor condition rather than any other criteria such as suitability or sufficiency. Only in exceptional circumstances was a whole school to be replaced.

 

To aid the delivery of the PSBP round 2 programme, the Education Funding Agency (EfA) decided to offer LA’s the opportunity to deliver schemes locally, using local procurement arrangements and local supply chains. These schemes were to be funded by the EfA, but there was opportunity for the Local Authority to contribute additional funds for basic need expansion.

 

 

Platt CE Primary School:

 

Platt Church of England Primary School is a small school with a religious character within the Rochester Diocese, it has a school roll of 156 children between 4 and 11 years of age. It received a Good judgement at its last Ofsted inspection in April 2019, which was a Section 8 short inspection.

 

In round 2 of the PSBP scheme KCC, with support from the Diocese of Rochester, as it involves a VA school, made a successful application for funding to improve Platt CEP school.  The EfA funding allocation of £3,430,000 was limited to covering the rebuilding of 2 main school blocks that were in the poorest condition.  The project was also selected by the EfA for local delivery with KCC to receive the necessary funding for the construction via a Project Delivery Grant.

 

Subsequently, agreement was reached with the Diocese and the EfA that third party funding would be used to rebuild the remaining two blocks that had not successfully met PSBP funding criteria.  This would allow the whole school to be relocated and rebuilt on a site adjacent to the existing school building.  It also enables a Basic Need expansion of the school’s PAN from 26 to 30, which would provide 28 additional places across the age range of the school for local children, as a 1FE school it would be financially more sustainable and secure into the longer-term future.

 

The third-party funding was to be achieved through the capital receipt from the sale of the existing school land; owned by the trustees of the school, as it is a Voluntary Aided school. An allocation of cost was agreed with the DfE based on the areas of the building, to allocate the cost of replacement of the school and the cost of increasing the capacity of the school. This increase in capacity was to be fully funded from the future sale of the existing site. Which has been estimated at between £800,000 and £1.2 million.

 

The total scheme cost was initially estimated to be £3,640,000; However, at tender stage it became apparent that there would be significant cost pressures on the scheme arising from the planning requirement to provide a pitched roof which added circa £400,000 to the project. 

 

Value engineering works have been on-going for some time, but cost pressures have been exacerbated by other design and development issues, notably site surveys which confirmed requirements for an additional £190,000 for foundations and retaining walls and £110,000 for drainage.  In addition, ecology costs are now at £140,000 due to the volume of reptiles found and an additional £50,000 has been allocated to address the additional costs related to constructing within the relevant Covid-19 restrictions.  All additional costs have been scrutinised and agreed by the DfE.

 

 


Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: Malling North;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 30/07/2020

Decision due: Not before 28th Aug 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.

Consultees

In accordance with the Department for Education’s Statutory Guidance (October 2018): Making ‘prescribed alterations’ to maintained schools, there is no need to undertake a formal statutory consultation process. 

 

Decision by the Cabinet Member outside of Cabinet Committee would be needed to enable the scheme to meet the DfE project timeline.

 

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: The total estimated cost of the scheme is now £4,720,000. The PSPB funding from Government will be £3,430,000, which leaves £1,290,000 to be funded by third party funding, in addition a contingency of £100k should be allowed for, the total third-party funding required is therefore £1,390,000. It was initially anticipated that the sale of the existing school site would fully fund the third party funding; however this may no longer be the case, due to the increase in costs and advice we have received that the school land may not achieve the higher end of its valuation due to value suppression and nervousness within the land sale market. It is projected that there will be a funding deficit of up to £490,000 if the land sale achieves an estimated £900,000 value. It is therefore necessary for the County Council to consider contributing £490,00 of capital funding in recognition of the 28 additional places that the school’s relocation will provide.

Legal implications: KCC will accept the contractual responsibilities it will hold with the DfE relating to the construction of the new school.

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.