Agenda item

Coventry One Strategic Plan and Education Capital Programme

Report of the Chief Partnership Officer


The Cabinet considered a report of the Chief Partnership Officer on the Coventry One Strategic Plan and Education Capital Programme. A copy of the Education and Learning One Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026 was attached as an appendix to the report.


A corresponding private report detailing confidential financial matters was also submitted for consideration (Minute 85 below refers).


Under Section 14 of the Education Act 1996, Coventry City Council had a statutory duty to ensure sufficient school places and fair, appropriate access to education. It was the Council’s role to plan, commission and organise school places in a way that raised standards, managed supply and demand and created a diverse infrastructure.


The Coventry One Strategic Plan, first presented to Cabinet on 2nd October 2018 (minute 46/18 referred), set out pupil forecasts for special, primary and secondary pupils across education planning areas in response to rising or falling pupil cohorts across the city. It outlined the strategy proposed by the Local Authority and the Coventry Education Partnership to meet the additional places required in secondary provision from 2019 – 2024. Work had also been undertaken to look at the Special School provision and the primary estate in line with falling birth rates and new housing, and actions required as a result of the rising demand for specialist school placements.


It was proposed that this strategy would be a flexible plan, able to adapt to shifting mechanisms of parental preference, unforeseen changes in supply and demand of school places, and future birth rates. To do this, the One Strategic Plan would be monitored and updated annually with presentation to the Education Portfolio Councillor, and Cabinet, alongside a wider process of constant review of School Place Planning. In addition, the procuring of places would take place annually so as not to create an unstable number of school places.


This partnership commitment signified a statement of intent to collaborate and work in partnership to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and young people in Coventry, ensure the sustainability of Coventry schools, and to enable the City Council to meet its statutory obligations. As part of this process, numerous options had been discussed at both full Coventry Education Partnership meetings, and the Secondary Headteacher Executive. The preferred option had been approved by the Coventry Education Partnership as being the best valid option keeping in line with the statutory requirement as outlined by the DfE to:


i.  Spend capital funding efficiently

ii.  Safeguard the quality of places in the system

iii.  Manage down spare capacity in the estate where it exists.


Capital allocations to meet projected shortfalls in provision were provided by the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to all Local Authorities based on the data provided in the annual School Capacity return (SCAP). Demand for places minus the supply of places was multiplied by a cost per pupil place to inform the final allocation. This return informed the ESFA of the expected change in pupil numbers over the next few years, the current capacity of schools to meet those numbers and the planned changes to that capacity.  The next tranche of funding would be announced in March 2023.


The Council in reports to Cabinet dated 12th October 2021 (minutes 37/21 and 41/21) and to Council 18th October 2021 (their minutes 46 and 51/21 referred) respectively approved a capital budget for the delivery of the capital refurbishment works on the Woodlands Site to facilitate the relocation of the existing Woodfield Primary and Secondary schools. Further funding had been identified toward the delivery of this project and this report sought the approval of an increase to the capital budget.


RESOLVED that the Cabinet:


1)  Authorises the programme of work outlined within the proposed Coventry One Strategic Plan for Primary, Secondary Education and Special Educational Needs (SEN).


2)  Delegates authority to the Chief Partnership Officer and the Chief Legal Officer to agree the most appropriate procurement route for the works to be delivered and awarded.


3)  Delegates authority to the Chief Partnership Officer and the Chief Legal Officer to undertake all necessary due diligence and to enter into the legal agreement to facilitate the lease for Swanswell to Sidney Stringer Multi Academy Trust (MAT) to allow Sidney Stringer Academy to increase their Published Admission Number (PAN)


4)  (Subject to acting within approved budgets), authorises an increase to capital budget for the delivery of the capital refurbishment works on the Woodlands site, to facilitate the relocation and expansion of Woodfield Special School by an additional amount of up to the sum identified in the private element of this report.


5)  Approves that the Council capital programme is adjusted to facilitate the Recommendation set out in Recommendation 4 above.

Supporting documents: