The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills proposes to:
a) agree to provide £4m from the Children’s, Young People and Education Capital Budget for the permanent expansion of Highsted Grammar School by 1FE for September 2021;
b) Authorise the Director of Infrastructure, Strategic and Corporate Services in consultation with the General Counsel and Director of Education to enter into any necessary contracts / agreements on behalf of the County Council; and
c) 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.
Reason for the decision:
To allocate £4m from the Capital budget for the expansion of Highsted Grammar school by 1FE. The funding allocation would be subject to a contractual agreement with the Trust to offer a minimum of 150 Year 7 places for September 2021 and to permanently expand the school by 1FE from September 2022 linked to the delivery of a Basic Need capital build programme. The school’s current published admission number (PAN) is 120.
The Kent Commissioning Plan 2020-2024 identified the need for additional selective places for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Planning group. Forecasts indicted a deficit of up to 60 Year 7 places for 2021 and a continual need through the plan period of between 1.5FE and 2FE in additional selective school places. Discussions have been held with both grammar schools in Sittingbourne and each school has agreed to progress a 1FE expansion, delivering a total of 60 additional places from September 2021.
Options (other options considered but discarded):
There are two grammar schools in Sittingbourne, and they have both agreed to a 1FE expansion. Neighbouring planning groups, including Faversham and Canterbury Selective and Maidstone Selective planning group, have a deficit of year 7 places.
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:
This proposal will help to secure our ambition “to ensure that Kent’s young people have access to the education, work and skills opportunities necessary to support Kent business to grow and be increasingly competitive in the national and international economy” as set out in ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2017 - 2022)’.
The Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2020-24 identified the need to commission additional capacity in Sittingbourne Selective Schools.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Sheppey; Sittingbourne North; Sittingbourne South; Swale East; Swale West;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/12/2020
Decision due: Not before 13th Jan 2021 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: Marisa White, Area Education Officer - East Kent Tel: 03000 418794 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01227 284407.
Has any public consultation been undertaken or is any planned?:
Highsted Grammar School will undertake a consultation as part of the delivery of the project. It is anticipated that this will commence at the beginning of 2021. Consultation results will have to be included in the fast track case for expansion the Trust will be required to submit to the DfE.
Cabinet Committee consultation planned: It is planned to take the report to the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on the 15th January 2021
Have views been sought from local Members?:
The views of Members will be sought and included in any report to Cabinet Committee and Cabinet Member.
Financial implications: The capital allocation of £4m is to deliver a programme to provide the additional general and specialist classrooms required to meet the additional pupil place need. The funding allocation would be subject to a contractual agreement between KCC and the Trust to offer a minimum of 150 Year 7 places for September 2021 and to expand permanently from September 2022. The school’s current published admission number (PAN) is 120. The £4m has been agreed based on a curriculum and space needs analysis of the school’s current accommodation and this figure is in line with the DfE’s benchmark figures for an expansion of a secondary school by 1FE. Highsted Grammar School has agreed to deliver and project manage the programme.
Legal implications: The funding allocation is subject to a contractual agreement between KCC and the Trust to offer a minimum of 150 Year 7 places from September 2021. The school’s current published admission number (PAN) is 120.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment has been produced and the assessment identified the following positive impacts: • Sufficient year 7 places will be provided for September 2021 intake. • Year 7 pupils will be able attend Grammar school provisions in their locality • More pupils will be able to attend a good or outstanding school. No adverse impacts were identified during the assessment.