Issue details

24/00040 - Proposal to add and eight classroom block with four finished classrooms at Whitfield Aspen Primary School (Richmond Way site)

The Cabinet Member for Education and Skills is asked to:


(i).      Approve the allocation of up to £2,800,000 of capital funding from the CYPE capital budget to add an eight classroom block at Whitfield Aspen Primary School (Richmond Way site);

(ii).      Delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the Director of Education to enter into any necessary contracts or other legal agreements as required to implement this decision; and

(ii).      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.



Whitfield Aspen Primary School is a 3FE primary School with a large Specialist Resourced Provision (SRP) for pupils with profound, severe and complex needs. 


In 2018 the school was expanded by 1FE (to 3FE) via a second site (Richmond Way) to support the need for additional primary school places within the Whitfield Urban Expansion (WUE).

Decisions for issue 16/00032 - Proposal to expand Whitfield Aspen School by 1FE across a split site (


Expansion of the school has been phased. Phase one delivered the core infrastructure required by a 2FE school (library, offices, meeting rooms, food technology etc). Sufficient classroom accommodation was provided to enable the school to grow year on year to 3FE in the mainstream and to offer 112 places in the SRP, the maximum number of specialist places that was required. Phase two was planned to be the addition of a two-storey block of eight additional mainstream classrooms.  This was to be added when 4FE of mainstream provision was required. 


The rise in EHCPs and the need for specialist primary provision in Dover over a number of years has led to more pupils requiring a place in the SRP then was initially planned. As of January 2024, there were 175 pupils on roll in the SRP across both sites.  As noted, the current accommodation (across both school sites) was built to provide for 112 SRP pupils.  Having to accommodate c63 additional pupils in the SRP has reduced the number of mainstream classrooms available.  At an average of 12 pupils per SRP class base it means 5 of the additional mainstream classrooms are being utilised by the SRP. As things stand, four of these classrooms will be required from September 2025 to enable the school to continue to admit 3FE of mainstream pupils as they are required to do.


Financial Implications


The proposal has been reviewed by a Quantity Surveyor. The capital cost is estimated to be an ‘upper cost’ of c£2,800,000. The standalone four class option has been costed at £2,250,000 (upper cost) therefore it is considered reasonable for this value to be funded by the High Needs Capital Budget, with the remaining £550,000 coming from the Basic Need Budget to fund the shell of the four first floor classrooms. The future fit out costs for the four classrooms (£800,000 at the upper cost) would be subject to a separate proposal when required.


The Schools’ Capital Budget agreed by the Council in February 2024, included a provisional allocation of up to £6m basic need funding to support the expansion of the school from 3 to 4FE. The basic need and high needs capital programme budgets will be updated to reflect the changes outlined in this paper. The Department of Education have recently confirmed additional high needs capital allocations for 2024-25. This funding will be used to fund the £2.2m additional high needs commitment. The resulting savings from the Basic Need element of the programme will be reallocated or held as a contingency.


In addition, a standard payment of £2,500 is provided to a school for each new classroom for ICT equipment. This will funded from the allocated capital budget.



There are no expected revenue costs to be funded from the Council’s general fund (such as temporary mobiles). The Dedicated Schools Grant Growth fund, ring-fenced grant from the Department of Education, will be used for the £6,000 classroom set up contribution for each of the four fitted out classrooms.


Should the scheme not proceed through to completion, any costs incurred at the time of cessation would become abortive costs and are likely to be recharged to Revenue. This would be reported through the regular financial monitoring reports to Cabinet.

Decision type: Key

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

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: Dover West;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 01/05/2024

Decision due: Not before 30th May 2024 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Debra Davidson, Customer Care and Complaints Manager Email:

Consultation process

Has any public consultation been undertaken or is any planned? A planning application has been submitted. No education public consultation is required.


Cabinet Committee consultation planned: The proposed decision was considered and endorsed by the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 16 May 2024.


Which Divisions / Local Members are particularly affected: Cllr David Beaney, Dover West.

Financial implications: Included above.

Legal implications: Planning permission exists for an eight classroom block. If there is a change to the current plans, a planning application will be required. Kent County, as the Local Authority, is responsible for ensuring sufficient school places. In May 2016, the County Council published its statutory proposal to expand Whitfield Aspen School to 3FE across two sites. It has a duty to provide the accommodation necessary to implement that proposal. The increase in the number of pupils in the SRP and consequential loss of mainstream classrooms means further accommodation must be provided to fully implement the proposal.

Equalities implications: An EQIA has been completed and no negative impact on protected groups has been identified. Data Protection implications: A DPIA was not required.