Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Education detailing the reconfiguration of St Monica's School site to amalgamate the Infants School onto the site of the Junior School
(i) To approve the addition of £1,262,000 to the Education & Children’s Social care capital programme, along with approval to spend, as detailed in paragraph 1. This will fund the SCC R&M Statutory commitments as part of the forced academisation of St Monica’s infant School, together with the provision of two permanent modular classrooms to facilitate amalgamation onto the Junior School site.
(ii) To approve to transfer funding to the academy trust to complete the works and delegate the Executive Director – Children and Learning to undertake a transfer agreement.
Option 3 Recommended – Undertake St Monica’s Junior School D1 & D2 R&M Priorities to Comply with Statutory Requirements Under the Forced Academisation Of the St Monica’s Primary School and the Amalgamation of St Monica’s School onto The Junior School Site
The amalgamation of St Monica’s school onto one site will enable the Trust to operate the school on one site which will ensure an enhanced education provision. Additionally, it will allow the existing Infant School site to be vacated for utilisation as part of the SEND Expansion Programme. The improvements to the fabric of the Junior School will ensure all health and safety requirements are met as a legal obligation on the Council as set out in the DfE Guidance on School Transfers to Academy Trusts.
The overall cost to undertake D1 & D2 R&M Priorities together with provision of permanent and temporary accommodation is £1,951,000 as detailed in table set out in the report.
The recommendations assume that the SEND reconfiguration proceeds, and that funding is made available to fulfil the current plans. There is potential risk that if the reconfiguration is not fulfilled that the Infant School site may not be used for the purposes currently proposed.
Schools Condition Allocation for 2021/22 was £4.3M in grant. This is not committed and available to fund the £1,262,000 capital cost, therefore no borrowing is required, leaving £3.1M for other school condition needs.
Option 1 – Do Nothing – Not Recommended
The do-nothing option would not address the Council Statutory obligations under the forced academisation of St Monica’s Primary School. It would maintain the current split site which has proven to be problematic to the effective management and running of the school. Additionally, it will not allow the existing Infant School site to be vacated for utilisation as part of SCC Educations preferred option for the SEND Expansion Programme.
Option 2 - Undertake St Monica’s Junior & infant School D1 & D2 R&M Priorities Only to Comply with Statutory Requirements Under the Forced Academisation Of the St Monica’s Primary School, maintaining school provision on Infant & Junior School Sites – Not Recommended
To undertake the D1 & D2 priorities on both sites to meet legal obligation on the Council as set out in the DfE Guidance on School Transfers to Academy Trusts.
It would not however address the management issues of the Trust in respect of running the school on two sites, or free up the Infant School for utilisation as part of SCC Educations preferred option for the SEND Expansion Programme. It should be noted that this project is only at feasibility stage and has not been approved.
Overall cost to undertake D1 & D2 R&M Priorities on both sites would be £2.04M and would all be capital spend resulting in a revenue saving (£0.7M).
Report author: Derek Wiles
Publication date: 18/10/2021
Date of decision: 18/10/2021
Decided at meeting: 18/10/2021 - Cabinet
Effective from: 27/10/2021