To consider a report of the Director of Children’s Services and the Director of Corporate Resources regarding the Children’s Services Capital Programme 2020/21 – 2022/23.
To consider the report of the Director of Children’s Services and Director of Corporate Resources prior to the decision of the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services and Young People.
The Committee received, for pre-scrutiny, a report and presentation on the Children’s Services Capital Programme 2020/21-2022/23 (Item 7 in the Minute Book).
Members were taken through the presentation and important key issues were highlighted which included continued significant school construction and the role of the Local Authority to strategically plan school places and capital investment. The increase in new school places in recent years was also highlighted to the Committee and it was heard that there had been 12,765 new school places in Hampshire between 2013-2019 and it was estimated that this would increase to 19,000 new school places by 2023, but issues such as new housing developments could often impact timescales. Members attention was also drawn to the Hampshire School Places Plan 2020-2024 which was listed at appendix 6 of the report. In relation to Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND), it was heard that the Department for Education had recognised the need for additional funding and the County Council had received £6.429m extra grant funding for SEND for the period 2018/19 – 2020/21.
Officers explained that in relation to suitability investment, schools were supported with suitability requirements and attention was drawn to appendix 8 of the report which detailed this further. The breakdown of the Children’s Services Capital Programme 2020/21 – 2022/23 was highlighted and this was detailed at page 9 of the presentation pack.
Pressures on the Capital Programme were explained to the Committee as set out on page 11 of the presentation pack, which included uncertainties over Brexit, Community Infrastructure Levy and restrictions on Pooling. Officers recognised the need to reduce the costs of schools, without reducing the quality of the learning environment. It was noted that HCC continued to work closely with industry, and a detailed benchmarking exercise provided information to help understand ways of becoming more efficient. It was explained that work would continue to examine, revise and update designs for new schools.
In response to questions, Members heard:
· That the Local Planning Authority (LPA) determined how the Community Infrastructure Levy funding (CIL) was spent, and HCC worked closely with the LPA for CIL funding.
· That additional funding has been identified for schools that have children with specific access requirements.
· That HCC continued to work closely with neighbouring authorities and their schools as part of a cluster arrangement, and this also involved sharing school design solutions.
· That HCC continue to review the pressure on SEND provision at schools, and funding for this provision.
· That officers were mindful of issues in relation to climate change, and solutions such as LED lighting and other energy efficient measures in schools were being considered.
· That issues around home to school transport would always be examined in relation to new housing developments, and also when expanding existing schools.
· That with new housing developments such as Berewood in Waterlooville, it was noted that developer contributions were already secured and Members were reassured that there were sufficient local secondary school places to accommodate children from new housing developments.
Following questions, the ... view the full minutes text for item 125