The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:
a) authorise the allocation of £2,438,095 from the Children Young People and Education Services Basic Need Capital Budget to fund the permanent expansion of Invicta Grammar School, by increasing the Published Admission Number (PAN) from 192 places to 240 places from September 2022.
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 with the Valley Invicta Academies Trust.
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 Decision:
Kent County Council (KCC), as the Local Authority (LA), has a statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places are available. 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 forecasts for the Maidstone and Malling Selective planning group indicate that there will be a deficit of Year 7 places throughout the Plan period. The deficit builds during the early years of the Plan period and peaks at -106 places in 2023-24, before settling into around a 90 places shortfall for the last 3 years of the forecast period.
Within this planning group, some schools have admitted over PAN in recent years, creating temporary additional selective capacity. It is anticipated that this pattern will continue and will accommodate the immediate forecast deficit of 28 places in 2021-22. However, from 2022-23 there is a need to commission up to 3FE of additional permanent provision and a further 1FE (or 30 temporary places) will be needed to meet the 2023-24 demand.
In recent years Invicta Grammar School has accepted bulges up to 240 pupils, which is 48 places above its PAN. These additional places have provided provision that ensured there were sufficient girls grammar places available in the Maidstone and Malling planning group. The latest KCP forecasts indicate a continued and growing demand for grammar places and in particular girls’ provision.
However, Invicta Grammar School no longer has the physical capacity to accept pupils over their PAN beyond September 2021. Therefore, KCC intends to commission a Basic Need expansion of Invicta Grammar School to enable the school to continue to offer 240 places on a permanent basis from September 2022.
It is agreed with Valley Invicta Academies Trust (VIAT) that this would be a school managed scheme, with KCC providing the Basic Need funding and the Trust procuring and managing all capital works.
There are only 2 girls’ grammar schools within the planning group and therefore the options for expanding girls’ grammar provision are limited to these schools. KCC is currently working with both schools to assess the possibility of expansion, as it is likely it will be necessary for both schools to expand to meet the forecast deficit.
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 the Strategic Business Plan Priorities to ensure that “Children and Young People in Kent get the best start in life”.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Maidstone North East;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/02/2021
Decision due: Not before 17th Mar 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
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 03000 410058 Email: Nicholas.Abrahams@kent.gov.uk.
Financial implications: VIAT and the school are the ‘controllers’ under the General Data Protection Regulation and will ensure that any personal information is processed fairly and lawfully within any consultation work completed as part of the fast-track business plan application.
Legal implications: The expansion will be subject to a legally binding and enforceable contract being in place between KCC and the Trust.
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.