Proposed decision –
The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:
a) authorise the allocation of £6,372,043 from the Children Young People and Education Services Basic Need Capital Budget to fund the permanent expansion of Wrotham School, with the provision of 265 additional places across the year groups to increase its Published Admission Number (PAN) to 210 places from September 2024.
b) authorise the Corporate Director of Finance (s151 officer) and 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.
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
KCC has identified the need for additional places within the Sevenoaks and Borough Green Non-Selective Planning Group. It has therefore agreed with the Character Education Trust to permanently expand Wrotham School’s PAN to 210 from September 2024 via the commissioning of 265 additional places across the school year groups.
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 2023-27 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:
In July 2021 Wrotham School was selected for rebuilding as part of the second set of The School Rebuilding Programme (SRP). The SRP is a Department for Education (DfE) scheme that carries out major rebuilding and refurbishment projects at school and sixth-form college buildings across England, with buildings prioritised according to their condition.
The Wrotham School project comprises the full rebuilding of the current school accommodation within its existing site. The rebuilding scheme will be managed and funded (via the SRP award) by the DfE.
Additionally, KCC has identified a need for additional places within the Sevenoaks and Borough Green Non-Selective Planning Group. It has therefore agreed with the academy and the DfE to commission 265 additional places across the year groups at Wrotham school to enable its PAN to be increased permanently to 210. The additional places will be included within the rebuilding project, which will be managed by the DfE and KCC will meet the associated costs of the additional works via Basic Need Capital funding.
There are only 3 three schools within the Sevenoaks and Borough Green non-selective planning group, including Wrotham, and the other 2 schools have recently been expanded and therefore cannot easily accommodate additional places.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Malling West;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 22/02/2023
Decision due: Not before 23rd Mar 2023 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Integrated Children's Services
Lead director: Christine McInnes
Department: Education & Young People's Services
Contact: Nick Abrahams, Area Education Officer – West Kent 03000 410058 Email: Nicholas.Abrahams@kent.gov.uk.
Financial implications: The total scheme cost is £30,554,758, with the DfE providing £24,182,713 from the SRP scheme to fund the rebuilding of the existing accommodation and KCC providing £6,372,043 from the Basic Need Capital Budget to fund the additional places.
Legal implications: Planning permission will be required for the new accommodation to enable the rebuilding and expansion of the 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.