Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Priory House, Chicksands

Contact: Rebecca Preen  0300 300 4193

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

26.

Members' Interests

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

27.

Chairman's Announcements and Communications

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

28.

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.

 

29.

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:

 

The Committee were advised that three members of the public and two Ward Members had registered to speak at the commencement of Item 10, in addition to which there were also three written statements which had been submitted.

 

30.

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.

 

31.

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.

 

32.

Executive Members' Updates

 

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

 

·         Families, Education and Children and

·         Health

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

None.

 

33.

The Future of Shelton Lower School pdf icon PDF 103 KB

 

To consider the future of Shelton Lower School following a public consultation.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Chairman invited three public speakers to address the Committee, who raised the following points in summary:-

·         That since the start of the consultation process parents had mobilised an action group which had resulted in successful open days and an increase in anticipated pupil admissions at the school from September 2018.

·         That families had stated they would have applied for school places at Shelton Lower had it not been for the threat of closure.

·         That the school had support from Bedford Borough Parish Councils and promises had been made that Bedford schools were willing to feed into Shelton Lower school.

·         That due to future development more children would require school places locally, particularly given that nearby and neighbouring schools were oversubscribed.

·         Concerns that the projected figures produced by the local authority were inaccurate.

·         That a robust business plan for recovery had been drafted by the action group.

·         Concerns that siblings would not be able to secure places at the same school, the associated transportation costs and the disruption to the education of those children already settled at Shelton Lower.

·         The need to provide choices of schools and educational provision for children and their families.

·         That the school provided a stable educational environment and yielded good outcomes for its pupils.

·         That the proposal to close the school be withdrawn and support provided to increase its numbers.

 

The Chairman invited two Ward Members to address the Committee, who raised the following points in summary:-

·         Ward Members expressed sympathy with the circumstances of those parents affected.

·         The view that there was a strong potential for the school to increase its pupil numbers due to its proximity to Bedford and the current surplus of pupils in that area.

·         That Shelton Lower school was in a unique position to offer a tailored education provision to those children with additional needs due to its small classroom sizes and the benefits that yielded.

·         That the most recent accounts for the school had not been ratified by the current governing body.

·         Whether a number of other schools would find themselves in a similar position due to changes in structure and their own financial position due to their small size.

·         That the written statements submitted by the school contradicted figures produced by the Council and the need for further analysis.

·         That new developments proposed for the area had school provision built into their conditions so there was no guarantee families moving into the area would apply for places at Shelton Lower due to sufficient and closer provision on those new estates.

 

Officers confirmed that the written statements would receive a written response.

 

The Director for Children’s Services (DCS) introduced the report and outlined the background to the recent consultation and subsequent decision to close the school, with the process delivered in an open and transparent manner working in close partnership with the school and governing body. The DCS expressed sympathy for those speakers and other parents who were concerned at the decision to close the school, expressed the view  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.