Councillor Peter Butlin (Deputy Leader) moved the recommendation as set out in the report. Councillor Parminder Singh Birdi seconded the recommendation and reserved the right to speak. During the debate, the following points were made:
· Attention was drawn to the Local Plans of each of the five district and borough councils and that the county council was required to provide school places to support the house building set out therein. It was claimed that it had previously been estimated that the implications were a requirement for 63 new schools. Councillor John Holland asked if this was the correct figure and how many of the schools had been built
· It was asserted that it had been previously acknowledged that the Oakley Grove School was not built on the preferred site and the costs involved were questioned, considering any losses, and how this compared to the cost that would have been incurred if building had taken place in the centre of the Heathcote estate
· The sufficiency of school places was questioned, particularly in Warwick district, where huts were being provided. The opinion was expressed that it was important to ensure that there were adequate school buildings for children who progressed through the school system
· The view was expressed that schools must not be built to a lower quality due to inflation and a shortage of school spaces and should be fit for the future so that retrofitting of efficiency measures was not required and to maximise revenue savings for the council and the schools
· The provision at Myton School was welcomed
· Disappointment over the absence of provision for Rugby in the report was expressed and assurance was sought that the urgent need in the area was being recognised
· It was noted that the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee were planning a task and finish group focussed on sufficiency.
· The delivery of the extension to the Queen Elizabeth Academy was welcomed as an exciting development for the school.
Councillor Singh Birdi noted that the debate had extended beyond the recommendations in the report and asserted that provision needed to be economically viable and compliant with building regulations and welcomed the proposals.
In response, Councillor Peter Butlin noted that the Council had delivered five new schools since 2016, with a further four being delivered in the following four years. He reflected on the reasons for the siting of the Oakley Grove school and stated that, after consideration, the current site was the preferred site. He advised that developments would be built to the new building regulations and whenever possible and financially viable, it was the Council’s intention to exceed those standards, but the primary concern was to ensure there were sufficient school places in Warwickshire. He noted work had been commissioned to determine where and when school places were needed so that decisions about school building in Rugby and across the county were made on current data and projections.
A vote was held. The recommendation was agreed unanimously.
That Council agrees the addition of £8.630 million to the capital programme to deliver the schemes at The Queen Elizabeth Academy, Atherstone and Myton School, Warwick, to be funded from Department for Education grant and third party contributions.