Issue details

23/00018 - Additional funding required to complete the satellite provision of The Beacon, Folkestone at the former Walmer Science College

Proposed decision –


(i).      Release a further £15,924,438 of capital funding from the Children’s, Young People and Education Capital Budget to enable the delivery of the satellite to be completed;

(ii).      Authorise the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the General Counsel to enter into any necessary contracts / agreements on behalf of the County Council; and

(iii).     Authorise the Director of Infrastructure to be the nominated Authority Representative within the relevant agreements and to enter into variations as envisaged under the contracts.


Background –

The Beacon Folkestone is a special school for pupils with Profound Severe and Complex Needs (PSCN).  There is no PSCN special school in Dover district, provision has hitherto been made through Specialist Resourced Provision at Whitfield Aspen School (primary) and Dover Christ Church Academy (secondary), together with pupils travelling to special schools in Canterbury, Thanet and Folkestone. In March 2020 this Committee considered a proposal to expand The Beacon School via a satellite site at the former Walmer Science College, Dover, following which the proposal was approved by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.   


The report of March 2020 stated that the estimated cost of delivering the satellite, at that point 168 places, had been estimated at £4m, with the first phase costing £1.6m.  This Committee recommended the proposal be amended to deliver 240 places, rather than 168, to enable the satellite to deliver two forms of entry throughout the age structure.  It was recognised this would increase the cost.  This recommendation was endorsed in the final decision (20/00001). 


The costs of delivering this satellite have increased significantly.  The first phase of the satellite opened in April 2021, following the upgrading of a detached block at the College.  This provides 64 places for pupils aged 4-8 years at a cost of £3.1m.  The full scheme is now expected to cost £19,924,438.  Details as to why are set in the report to CYPECC.


How the proposed decision meets the KCC objectives


The commissioning Plan for Education Provision In Kent states that: our (KCC’s) vision is that every child and young person should go to a good or outstanding school.  The proposal supports that vision.


The SEND Strategy 2021-24 has five priorities.  The proposal will support the following priorities :


·       Priority Four: Improve education, care and health outcomes for children and young

·       people with SEND.

·          Priority Five: Ensure children and young people with SEND are included in their local community.


Decision type: Key

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

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: Deal & Walmer; Folkestone West;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 28/02/2023

Decision due: Not before 29th Mar 2023 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: Christine McInnes

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: David Adams, Assistant Director Education (South Kent) Phone number: 03000414989 Email: Tel: 01233 898559.

Financial implications: The cost of this proposal is now estimated at £19,924,438. The capital cost will be fully covered from the Government’s High Needs Provision Capital Allocation (HNPCA). The Council’s approved capital programme includes the HNPCA allocations for 2022/23 and 2023/24, which together total just under £41.5m. This means the increased cost for this scheme, will not impact on the main Basic Need Capital Programme. The proposal has been presented to Education Asset Board and agreed, in KCP 2020-24. Revenue: £8,000 per classroom for fixtures and resources will be allocated to the school as the phases are occupied. The total cost being c£240,000. Split site funding of £42,810 was allocated for the financial year 2022-23. Split site funding will be allocated in future years as agreed in the schools funding policy.

Legal implications: Any legal implications will be explained in the report to the Cabinet Members prior to taking their decision.

Equalities implications: The original EqIA has been reviewed and no changes are required. This found that the proposal has an overall positive impact as it increases the number of outstanding special school places available for pupils who require the specialist support the school can offer. It will also release capacity in The Beacon Folkestone and other PSCN provisions for other need types. Analysis continues to show that girls will be less likely to benefit from this proposal than boys. As of May 2022, there were 2,460 boys and 1,115 girls on roll in the ten PSCN special schools across the County. In addition, the most physically disabled may be indirectly discriminated against as the satellite building will support the more ambulant pupils. Therefore, some Dover residents may still need to travel out of the district to attend a suitable provision.