Lewisham Schools Place Planning Strategy
The Executive Director for Children and Young People introduced the report. The Chair stated that local authorities have a duty to provide school places for children in the borough. He asked what the future plans were for a new secondary school in Lewisham. The Executive Director for Children and Young People said there were still places available in some of the Lewisham secondary schools. She added that this was mainly due to the high volume of export of secondary school children to neighbouring boroughs. She said the population bulge in primary schools had not yet worked through to secondary schools. Panel Members were told that the start of the serious deficit of secondary school places would be in 2019/20 hence the justification of 1 form entry for Bonus Pastor and a planned extension of Addey & Stanhope.
The Executive Director for Children and Young People told Panel Members that they should be aware that if there was to be a new secondary school it could only be through the Free School route. This would mean the site could be a Council site or a site on the private market acquired by EFA. She said finding a site in London was difficult in all boroughs, and officers were focusing on filling up existing schools, and exploring opportunities for a new school as they arose.
The Chair asked how long it would take to build a new school and was told that a large secondary school could take 2-3 years, longer if there were planning difficulties. The Chair said this was worrying, as talk of building a new school had been going on before the current administration and to date no progress had been made.
The Executive Director for Children and Young People informed the Panel that the Council should not open a new secondary school when there were vacant places in existing secondary schools, and stated that it was rational that the Council had seen the urgency in providing places for primary school children and this would continue till 2018/19.
Councillor Mallory said he was aware of the difficulty in securing a site to build a new school, and wanted to find out if there was any scope to expand existing schools, especially as most of them were built under the BSF programme. The Executive Director for Children and Young People said most of them have not got the space to expand, but this may need to be considered.
Councillor Mallory asked if other sites have been investigated, and was told that officers had not done a recent site trawl for secondary schools as the priority had been for primary school places but EFA had failed to secure a site for the Citizen School.
Following a detailed discussion, and in response to a question about the Council’s strategic plan to address the issue of secondary school places and securing additional funding for this, the Executive Director for Children and Young People said that the strategy addressed the need for places in secondary and SEND as well as primary. She added that specific proposals in relation to SEND would be brought to members in the next few months.
The Chair said he was happy that the Children and Young People Select Committee were constantly reviewing school roll projections on a yearly basis. The Chair requested the following briefings for Education Business Panel Members:
i. the proposed C of E Free School.
ii. proposal for in borough SEND places.
iii. plans for increasing secondary school places in the borough.
The Chair said these were very important issues and needed to be addressed. The Executive Director for Children and Young People said this information would be provided once Wave 12 of the Free School Programme had been announced.
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RESOLVED that the decision of the Mayor be noted.
Our Lady St Philp Neri – Land Transfer
The Capital Programme Delivery Services Manager introduced the report.
Business Panel Members asked if the Council would get any financial benefit from this transaction, and was told the Council would not. It was noted that the current value of the land was £30k and the Mayor had pledged £6.1m towards expansion works as it would be of significant benefit to Lewisham if the school was expanded. The Chair asked that officers ensure access to Home Park is part of the discussion, and was told by the Capital Programme Delivery Services Manager that this would be included in the contract.
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RESOLVED that the decision of the Mayor be noted