A report from the Executive Director – People and Executive Director - Resources is attached. (Key decision – reference number 4893)
(7.45 – 7.50 pm)
Councillor Rick Jewell (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services) introduced the report of the Executive Director – Resources and Executive Director - People (No.130) updating the strategy for the provision of school places up to the financial year 2022/23.
1. Demand for primary school places 2019 to 2023 was lower than previously projected, but there was some local demand in the Town, West and South West.
2. Demand for high support provision for children with certain categories of special education need continued to increase. The current special school expansions were set out in paragraph 3.9 of the report. These would create a total of additional 322 special school places. Thanks was recorded to all the officers involved, and particularly to Gary Barnes for bringing forward the former Minchenden Secondary School site. There would be an estimated saving of £31.4m return from the investment, including a significant transport cost saving.
3. As successive larger cohorts transferred there would inevitably be pressure on the secondary school sector, and dependence on planned new Free Schools as set out in paragraph 3.1 of the report.
4. The Council’s approach to special need provision was clarified and that the work officers were doing in respect of provision in mainstream schools was welcomed, and that the trend to segregate should be resisted, while acknowledging that some children could not be catered for in mainstream schools.
Alternative Options Considered:
1. Enfield Council has a statutory responsibility to provide the necessary school places. The School Places Delivery Programme (SSPP) created a mechanism to assist with the delivery of extra capacity required. Failure to provide enough school places was not an option.
2. The following proposal had been considered but rejected:
• Complete reliance on additional capacity from new free schools or existing free school / academy expansions. There was no guarantee that high quality providers would come forward with proposals for new schools that the Education and Schools Funding Agency (ESFA) would then accept and then deliver, this was particularly true for special schools. The Council would continue to work with the ESFA and current providers that provide high quality services and contribute to the wider education community in the borough to assess potential expansion opportunities.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed:
1. The strategy of increasing capacity in special schools and establishments that provide education services for some of the most acute special need categories.
2. To support delegated authority to the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services to:
• Approve the adding of individual school projects and budgets to the capital programme in support of the strategy of providing additional special school places up to 2022/23;
• Annually review school roll projections reports to ensure the Cabinet approved strategy is still valid. Should variations to the strategy to be required Officers are to provide a separate report to Cabinet detailing the changes.
3. To support continued delegated authority to the Executive Director - People
• Commencing feasibility or initial design to inform pre-application discussions with planning and procurement of ... view the full minutes text for item 8