Executive Member for Children, Families and Learning Minutes

Executive Member for Children, Families and Learning Minutes

Date:
Friday 24 August 2012
Time:
10:00 a.m.
Place:
Oberhausen Room,Town Hall, Middlesbrough
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor M Carr
Officers:
Gary Maddison, Sue Corner and Sharron Brown
Item Number Item/Resolution
PUBLIC
12/2 THE CHILDREN, FAMILIES & LEARNING CAPITAL PROGRAMME.

The Executive Director of Children, Families and Learning submitted a report seeking approval of the Children, Families and Learning Capital Programme for 2012/13 and 2013/14 and the provisional programme for 2014/15, as part a three-year rolling programme of investment in Middlesbrough’s school buildings.


Each year Middlesbrough Council receives an allocation of capital funding from the Department for Education (DfE). These funds are set-aside for the Children, Families & Learning department to spend on the condition, suitability and sufficiency needs of schools and other facilities for young people.

 

This report set out the proposed programme of capital works funded from those allocations for 2011/12 and 2012/13, supplemented by other funding sources where available. It was set in the context of uncertainty around the level of future capital allocations and, in particular, the effect on funding of the growing number of schools choosing to leave council control by converting to academy schools.

 

The programme required Executive approval prior to the commencement of individual building projects. Further reports may be necessary as the programme develops and as other projects, particularly to supply new places in primary schools, are identified.

 

This was the first capital programme developed since the demise of the government’s Primary Strategy for Change (PSfC) programme. DfE allocations for the years 2009/10 and 2010/11 were joined up with PSfC funding and the programme agreed in June 2008. The first phase of PSfC was completed in 2011. The DfE had withdrawn funding for subsequent phases.

 

In the Middlesbrough secondary sector, the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme was due for completion in September 2012 when all secondary-aged maintained schools in the town would have been rebuilt.

 

The national withdrawal of the PSfC and BSF programmes in 2010 marked the start of a government review of capital funding for young people’s facilities, prompted by the nationwide reduction in public sector funding.

 

The DfE had reverted from making three-year capital allocations to annual allocations. The funding methodology used to allocate funding to authorities had been simplified, a number of capital grants ceased and the amount of funding available lowered. The amount of DfE capital funding to Middlesbrough Council for schools and other facilities for young people had therefore been reduced significantly.


Further details on the Capital allocations for 2011/12 and 2012/13 and the Capital programme can be found within the report.


The following options were outlined within the report

 

  1. The proposed capital programme had prioritised individual school projects based on the condition of buildings and the urgency of the work, in-line with the Middlesbrough Capital Strategy and Asset Management Plan.
  2. The programme was targeted at primary and special schools. There was no requirement to invest significantly in secondary aged schools, which had all recently been replaced through the BSF programme.
  3. Risks associated with individual projects would be assessed by the Asset Management team in conjunction with Design Services as project briefs and inception studies were progressed.
  4. Middlesbrough was exploring new models of education for the town with its schools and partners. A number of schools are currently in discussions with the DfE about converting to academies and governors were actively discussing academy status at a number of other schools.
  5. The conversion of schools to academies means that the Council no longer owns the assets, which transfer to the school or academy trust. In these cases the Council would no longer receive capital allocations for these schools. The amount of future capital funding available to the Council could therefore be reduced within the lifetime of the capital programme. Academies and free schools remain eligible for support from Basic Need funding if they are in an area where additional places are required.
  6. The increasing number of pupils born and living in Middlesbrough was set to continue and was placing some primary schools under particular pressure for places. Officers were considering a number of approaches to providing additional school places in primary schools where short supply of places was critical.
  7. The capital programme would be revised as these and other developments take effect and would be brought back to Executive for consideration where necessary.

ORDERED

 

It was recommended that the Executive Member:

  1. Agreed the allocation of the capital programme for 2012/14 , which was Appended to the report.
  2. Noted the indicative allocation of schemes for 2014/15.
  3. Agree the allocation of funds from CERA to support the capital programme, and;
  4. Request that further reports be presented on Basic Need schemes and future capital programmes once details had been finalised.

REASONS

 

The decisions were supported by the following reasons:

  1. To ensure that the funding available was spent on priority projects within the Children, Families and Learning property portfolio.
  2. To enable the implementation of school building projects to improve the teaching and learning environments.
  3. To ensure that future suitability, condition and pupil place requirements of schools were met.
     
The decision(s) will come into force after five working days following the day the decision was taken unless the decision becomes subject to the call in procedures.
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