Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader) moved the recommendation as set out in the report. Councillor Kam Kaur seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak.
Councillor Tracey Drew noted media reports about potential school closures due to the heatwave taking place at the time of the meeting and expressed the opinion that schools should be built to the highest standards possible to ensure that they were future proofed against the need to close during thermal weather incidents which would be detrimental to pupils’ education.
Councillor Bill Gifford expressed the view that it was important to support and work with schools, like Trinity Roman Catholic School, which were undersubscribed but improving after changes to management, to ensure that they remained viable, rather than resort to building new schools.
Councillor Judy Falp shared her disappointment at the delay to the opening of Oakley Grove School.
Councillor John Holland raised concerns regarding the siting of the Oakley Grove School and the poor accessibility of the site together with the additional costs that were being incurred during the building works. He sought a discussion on how an inquiry into the development could be instigated to establish lessons learnt and how the best education for students could be secured.
Councillor Jonathan Chilvers raised concern regarding the additional funding requested, and the knock-on effect this would have for other projects. He welcomed the building of Oakley Grove and Shipston Schools to 2022 Regulations, viewing building to a higher standard as an investment that would result in lower fuel bills. However, he lamented the lack of a mechanism to share the proceeds of investment.
Councillor Sarah Boad praised the usefulness of the now obsolete Area Committees as useful forums to share information. She commented on the need to ensure school places were available to support new housing developments as they came to fruition, and she considered that this needed to be pre-empted and places available so that children could go to school close to home. She also supported previous comments that it was crucial for schools to be built fit for purpose so that children’s education did not suffer because of thermal weather events.
Councillor Robert Tromans welcomed the report and expressed his hope that the report would be the first of a series that would bring forward projects in other areas of the county.
Councillor Jan Matecki similarly welcomed the report and commented on the setting of the Oakley Grove site in relation to improved walkways, cycleways and the location of the country park which reduced the need for motorised travel on school journeys.
Councillor Kam Kaur noted that existence of the capital programme to ensure that the Council could meet its statutory duty to provide school places and that work was underway to set up and build a new sufficiency strategy for the period 2023 to 2035 onwards. This would also include new provisions and expansions discussed with the district and borough council through the local planning process. It was important to sustain ... view the full minutes text for item 3
An update on the Education Capital Programme 2022/23.
Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader, Finance and Property) introduced this report which highlighted the latest changes and additions to the Education Capital Programme and detailed projects at Bishops Tachbrook CofE School (Warwick District), Briar Hill Infant School and St Margaret’s CofE Junior School (Warwick District), Oakley Grove all through school (South Leamington/Warwick), Griffin School (Rugby gateway), Stratford upon Avon High School, Shipston High School (Stratford-upon-Avon District) and Lighthorne Heath Primary School (Stratford-upon-Avon District).
Councillor Kam Kaur (Portfolio Holder for Education) informed Cabinet that work would be undertaken to understand the need for school places and ensure that they were in the right place going forward.
Councillor Judy Falp welcomed provision in the Bishops Tachbrook and Whitnash area which supported encouraging parents to choose schools in their local area rather than requiring car travel.
Councillor Margaret Bell welcomed the sufficiency work highlighted by Councillor Kaur, noting that the geographical spread of projects in the report did not reflect need across the whole of the county and she looked forward to further discussions. Councillor Marian Humphreys echoed this comment and also looked forward to engaging on this piece of work. Councillor Jonathan Chilvers queried the future funding position of the education capital fund and how projects may need to be prioritised in future. In response to these comments, Councillor Kaur advised that the education capital programme existed to make sure the Council could meet its statutory duty to provide school places and the sufficiency work would consider the whole picture, recognising the growth that was taking place throughout Warwickshire, engaging with headteachers and providers, and considering how current facilites were being used.
Councillor John Holland expressed concern regarding the additional funding required for Oakley Grove and considered that a review of the project should be undertaken. Councillor Butlin responded that inflation was driving costs up and this would have an impact on delivery, together with new regulations in terms of sustainability, regardless of the site that the school was built upon and he did not consider a review was, therefore necessary and Councillor Holland may wish to take up his concerns with the district in terms of how they allocated the site through the planning process.
That Cabinet recommends to Council to:
1. Increase the Capital Programme allocation for Oakley Grove All through School by £6.000 million to £56.000 million to be funded from Department for Education Grant.
2. Increase the Capital Programme allocation from Stratford-upon-Avon High School by £2.2 million to £13.773 to be funded from the Department for Education grant
3. Add the scheme for refurbishment and remodelling of Shipston High School and the addition of a sports hall to the Capital Programme at a cost of £10.532 million funded by £10.023 million from the Department for Education grant and £0.509 million from developer contributions
1. Approves the addition to the capital programme of £2.361m funded from the Department for Education grant and developer contributions to deliver the remaining schemes outlined in Section 3 of the report. ... view the full minutes text for item 3