Proposed decision –
The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills proposes to:
a) authorise the allocation of £2.4m from the Children Young People and Education Services Basic Need Capital Budget to deliver the accommodation required for the second phase of building works at Broomhill Bank School;
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 agreements on behalf of the County Council with the Broomhill Bank School; and
c) delegate authority to the Director for Education to take necessary actions, including but not limited to entering into necessary contracts or taking other legal actions as required to implement the decision.
Reason for Decision:
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.
Following a statutory process, the school’s Designated Number was increased from 210 to 318 places on 1st October 2020. Additional accommodation is required to enable the school to accommodate increased pupil numbers. A Cabinet Member Decision is required as a capital allocation of in excess of £1m is necessary.
Feasibility and curriculum analysis work was undertaken across both of the school’s sites to assess the accommodation and resources required for the expansion. It was determined that the additional accommodation to provide capacity for the proposed increased Designated Number would be delivered over two phases. The first phase of works would not require planning permission and would deliver the accommodation required for the School Year beginning in September 2020. Detailed costings identified a cost of £2m for the first phase of work.
The increase to the school’s Designated Number and the authorisation for expenditure on the first phase of works were approved by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills on 24th June 2020 (Decision Number 20/00053).
The proposed second phase would provide the school with the new additional accommodation required to gradually admit pupils up to a total of 318 in subsequent years. This would include the provision and enhancement of sports facilities. It is anticipated that the phase 2 works would be completed within the school year commencing in September 2021. The proposed Decision relates to the allocation of capital funding necessary to enable the second phase of works.
There is limited ASD specific provision available in the West and North of the county, with the nearest Special School to the Broomhill Bank sites with ASD as its main need type having already recently expanded. After exploring the options, the increase in Designated number for Broomhill Bank School was deemed the suitable option.
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:
The provision of sufficient school places is a statutory duty and contributes to theStrategic Business Plan Priorities to ensure that “Children and Young People in Kent get the best start in life”.
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: 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: Nick Abrahams, Area Education Officer – West Kent Tel: 03000 410058 Email: Nicholas.Abrahams@kent.gov.uk.
Has any public consultation been undertaken or is any planned?:
In accordance with the Department for Education’s Statutory Guidance (October 2018): Making ‘prescribed alterations’ to maintained schools, there was a need to undertake a formal statutory consultation process.
An informal education consultation was completed from 1st May 2020 to 8th June 2020. Further information is available on the School Consultation webpage: www.kent.gov.uk/schoolconsultations
Following the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education’s decision to approve the project (Decision Number 20/00053), a Public Notice ran from 3rd July to 31st July 2020.
Cabinet Committee consultation planned:
The original decision was taken by the Cabinet Member outside of Cabinet Committee on 24th June 2020 to enable the statutory processes to be completed before the end of the 2019/20 academic year. It is planned that the proposed second phase funding and contractual arrangements will be considered by the 15th January 2021 Children’s, Young People and Education Services Cabinet Committee.
Have views been sought from local Members?:
The Local Member’s views were sought, and any comments included in the original Cabinet Member report concerning the expansion of Broomhill Bank. The Local Members will be given an opportunity to register their views again within the committee report concerning the second phase of the project.
Financial implications: Detailed feasibility has been undertaken and identified that the second phase of the scheme will require an allocation of £2.4m from the CYPE Basic Need Capital Budget. It is proposed that this will be a school managed scheme. KCC will provide the allocated Basic Need Funding in return for the school providing the necessary accommodation and resources to meet the increased Designated Number of 318 pupils. The roles and responsibility of each party will be formally set out through an agreement between KCC and the School. KCC will monitor progress regularly during the building works to ensure that the accommodation needs are being met. Should the scheme progress, £6,000 per new learning space would be provided towards the cost of furniture and equipment. This would be provided to the school to purchase required equipment. In addition, an allowance of up to £2500 may be payable to outfit each new teaching room with appropriate ICT equipment, such as touch screens/projection equipment.
Legal implications: As the original proposal increased of the designated number by 10% or 20 pupils (whichever is lesser), legislation required statutory process to be undertaken. The second phase will be subject to a formal agreement being in place between KCC and Broomhill Bank School.
Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) was completed as part of the consultation. The screening found there is no evidence that the change will impact negatively on pupils from Protected Groups or lead to them being treated less favourably. The school will remain co-educational and continue to welcome pupils placed by KCC regardless of gender identity, race, ethnicity or religion beliefs. To date no comments have been received and no changes are required to the Equality Impact Assessment.