Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Priory House, Monks Walk, Shefford

Contact: Rebecca Preen  0300 300 4193

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

49.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

 

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 30 October 2017 and to note actions taken since that meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting of the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 30 October 2017 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

50.

Members' Interests

To receive from Members any declarations of interest and of any political whip in relation to any agenda item.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Parental Co-optee Mrs G Deans declared an interest in item 11 as a parent of a child in attendance at St Swithun’s VC school.

 

Parental Co-optee Mrs E Rowlands declared an interest in item 13 as a director of the Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST) Nurseries.

 

Cllr D Shelvey declared an interest in item 13 as a director of the Bedfordshire Schools Trust (BEST).

 

51.

Chairman's Announcements and Communications

To receive any announcements from the Chairman and any matters of communication.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

52.

Petitions

 

To receive petitions from members of the public in accordance with the Public

Participation Procedure as set out in Part 4G of the Constitution.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

53.

Questions, Statements or Deputations

 

To receive any questions, statements or deputations from members of the

public in accordance with the Public Participation Procedure as set out in Part

4G of the Constitution.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

54.

Call-In

 

To consider any decision of the Executive referred to this Committee for review in accordance with Part 4D of the Constitution.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

55.

Requested Items

 

To consider any items referred to the Committee at the request of a Member in accordance with Part 4D of the Constitution.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

56.

Executive Members' Updates

 

To receive a brief verbal update from the Executive Members for:-

 

·                Social Care and Housing

·                Education and Skills and

·                Health

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Executive Member for Education advised the Committee that the contractor responsible for the expansion of Henlow Middle School had been appointed and progress was continuing well.

 

57.

Careers Education and Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Central Bedfordshire – Briefing (October 2017) pdf icon PDF 138 KB

 

To appraise Members on the current local provision of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) in Central Bedfordshire, setting out the council’s statutory duties, the current national picture and proposing a series of recommendations/next steps for the future.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement advised the Committee of the key areas of focus in relation to Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) within Central Bedfordshire, the statutory responsibilities of the local authority and schools, also highlighting the need to raise participation in the scheme due to the requirement for young people to be in education or training until the age of 18. Members were appraised of a recent successful event in relation to career options and that the department were seeking best practice examples in order to ensure young people in the region had the greatest level of opportunity when entering the work place.

 

In light of the report Members discussed the following in summary:-

·           Whether the system catered for all pupils, particularly those undertaking skills based subjects, with a need to lobby government regarding parity of esteem between academic and vocational subjects given that the national curriculum was primarily focussed on academic outcomes.

·           The benefits of work experience being made available to those students interested in practical based subjects, taking into account health and safety requirements, with the local authority setting an example as a large local employer and increasing the offer of work experience to students.

·           The disparity between feedback from pupils and schools regarding the offer of careers advice and guidance and the reasons behind why no local schools had achieved the kite mark as detailed within the report.

·           That there had been a positive response to the proposals with a commitment from schools to improve the offer in partnership with the local authority, acknowledging the need for the involvement of school governors in order to ensure an appropriate offer to students.

·           To consider offering careers advice and guidance to younger pupils prior to the selection of GCSE options and the importance of engaging with parents.

·           That the development of a new online portal would improve accessibility.

 

RECOMMENDED:-

 

1.     That the Executive Member liaise with the Secretary of State for Education in order to promote a more vocational based curriculum for those students who required it.

2.     That the Council considered more robust methods of facilitating and supporting schools to engage proactively with businesses in order to promote work experience for young people.

3.     That the local authority undertakes an annual youth audit of the IAG provision within Central Bedfordshire.

 

58.

Consultation On The Council's Admission Arrangements For The Academic Year 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 59 KB

 

To outline the proposed changes to the admission arrangements for seventeen Community and Voluntary Controlled schools and seek the views of the Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Executive Member for Education introduced a report which highlighted proposed changes to the Council’s admission arrangements for 2019/20.

 

In light of the report Members discussed the following in summary:-

·           That parents within the Leighton Buzzard area, particularly those within the south of the region broadly supported the proposed removal of catchment areas.

·           Whether the removal of catchment areas would have an impact on future development and the allocation of Section 106 contributions.

·           That the proposals would remove the need for schools transport in many cases, creating a cost saving for the Council.

 

RECOMMENDED:-

1.  That the Committee support the Council’s proposed admission arrangements for the academic year 2019/20.

2.  That further clarity be provided within the public consultation documents in relation to the distance criteria and the options available to parents when selecting a school for their child.

 

59.

Pupil Admissions Numbers Increase pdf icon PDF 53 KB

 

To seek approval for the commencement of capital expenditure for the temporary expansion of pupil numbers at Thomas Johnson Lower School to allow the school to admit up to 30 pupils by 2018 and Biggleswade Academy (middle) by an additional 60 pupils for 2018 and 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Senior Education Officer (Planning) outlined the proposed temporary increase in the Pupil Admission Numbers (PAN) at Thomas Johnson Lower School and how they would be accommodated. Birth data suggested a very high number of pupils from the Lidlington area, with the next nearest available school over two miles away which would significantly impact transport costs.

 

With regards to the expansion of Biggleswade Academy, Members were advised that forecasts suggested additional and significant future growth in the town, with the expansion of other schools unlikely due to site constraints. A proposal for a future free school would meet the longer term requirements within the town.

 

In light of the report Members discussed the following in summary:-

·           That the proposals in relation to Thomas Johnson Lower School appeared to be an efficient use of funds which would benefit the school and local area in future years.

·           Concerns that forecast numbers were not being considered at an early enough stage, to which it was confirmed that forecasting was carried out over a 5 year period, with an annual review to ensure data was as accurate as possible.

·           That the broader school organisational plan would minimise the impact of regular changes to PAN.

·           The need to liaise with neighbouring authorities due to their proximity to Central Bedfordshire and pupils from outside of the region crossing the border into local schools.

·           Members were offered reassurance that the proposals would not jeopardise the free school bid.

·           That in the Committee’s view, temporary units were not a long term, appropriate solution and that a permanent structure would be preferable, notwithstanding concerns regards the high costs involved.

·           The need for effective planning in order that schools were able to appropriately manage their sites and staffing requirements.

·           That increasing the pupil head room over the requisite 5% would not be possible due to the impact on developer contributions and staffing within schools.

·           Concerns that due to the impact on local children and the need for appropriate accommodation, it was necessary for the Committee to agree the proposals, despite ongoing concerns about the cost of temporary expansions.

 

RECOMMENDED:-

  1. That the commencement of capital expenditure as set out in the Executive report be supported, subject to the granting of planning permissions under Part 3 of the Town and Country Planning Act for the temporary expansion of Thomas Johnson Lower School and Biggleswade Academy.
  2. That the Committee support the Director of Community Services, in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services to enter into all appropriate legal documentation to implement the scheme.
  3. That the school organisational plan be brought to the Committee at the earliest possible stage due to ongoing concerns in relation to effective planning of school places and the high costs involved for the temporary expansion of schools.

 

60.

New School Places pdf icon PDF 50 KB

 

To seek approval for the release of land (subject to planning) for the new Pix Brook Academy Free School and for the Council to manage the delivery of the build on behalf of the DfE.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Executive Member for Education outlined the rationale and need for the proposed new free school and confirmed that once the site had been agreed, admissions numbers would be included for new applications to the school.

 

In light of the report members discussed the following in summary:-

·           That the use of cycle ways be supported in order to minimise the need for school transport and encourage sustainable travel to school.

·           Concerns at the lack of 6th form provision with a need to understand what would attract 6th form students into the region.

·           That any overspend on the project would be funded by the Department for Education and not the local authority.

 

RECOMMENDED:-

1.     That the Committee support the release of land (subject to planning) for the new free school and for the Council to deliver the new free school on behalf of the DfE.

2.     That the Committee support the Director of Community Services, in consultation with the Director of Children’s Services to enter into all appropriate legal documentation to implement the scheme including the building contract and ancillary documents, funding agreement, development agreement, Academy lease and all contracts required to secure delivery and operation of the new school.

 

61.

OFSTED Outcomes Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 632 KB

 

To receive a presentation detailing the outcomes of a recent OFSTED inspection along with recommendations to inform the future action plan.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Director for Children’s Services delivered a presentation which outlined recommendations for improvement arising from a recent OFSTED inspection. Members were advised that the success criteria would be to demonstrate how the inspector’s recommendations would be met, with the directorate expanding on them and delivering milestones at each relevant stage of the process.

 

NOTED the positive outcome of the recent OFSTED inspection with the Committee welcoming the delivery of an action plan to a future meeting.

 

62.

Work Programme 2017/18 & Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 57 KB

 

The report provides Members with details of the currently drafted Committee work programme and the latest Executive Forward Plan.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

That the Committee Work Programme be agreed subject to the following

amendments:-

·           Henlow Church of England Expansion – Process Management Report and Tender Process update to include financial details relating to the costs of temporary units – 16 January 2018

·           The School Organisational Plan – 13 March 2018

·           Pupil Attainment Task Force Report – 13 March 2018