Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall - County Hall. View directions
Contact: Elizabeth Patterson 01597 826980 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors M Barnes, K Laurie-Parry, S McNicholas and L Roberts, Parent Governor Representative N Bufton and County Councillor M Alexander (Portfolio Holder for Education) and A Davies (Portfolio Holder for Finance)
Officers: A Clark (Head of Learning), J Thomas (Head of Financial Services), E Palmer (Head of Strategic Policy and Performance), M Evans (Senior Manager Schools Transformation), D Thompson (School Capital and Property Manager) and E Patterson (Scrutiny Officer)
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
The following declarations of interest were received:
Declarations of Party Whips
To receive disclosures of prohibited party whips which a Member has been given in relation to the meeting in accordance with Section 78(3) of the Local Government Measure 2011.
(NB: Members are reminded that under Section 78 Members having been given a prohibited party whip cannot vote on a matter before the Committee.)
No declarations of Party Whips were received.
To consider a report on the Schools Asset Management Plan.
· Draft Cabinet report on Schools Asset Management Plan v3
· School Asset Management Plan 2018-2024 090918
· Appendix A – Schools Building Condition, Suitability and Sufficiency data 2018
o Primary Schools
o Secondary Schools
o Special Schools
· Appendix B – Certification requirements
Powys has been fortunate in Wales to have received a considerable amount of match funding from Welsh Government for the 21st Century Schools programme. Staff working on new schools and maintaining existing schools are being combined into one team. The Schools Asset Management Plan gives a clear strategic way forward.
How accurate is the report? Capacity of the schools in Ystradgynlais is stated in the report to be different in all cases to that known to be the case by school Governors. Governors from other areas reported similar discrepancies.
This information had been received from colleagues and a review of capacity was currently being undertaken.
Having accurate information is also essential for the Admissions booklet. There is little need to provide admissions information regarding Welshpool schools to parents in Ystradgynlais but any information provided does need to be correct.
Admissions information does need to be relevant to parents and Admissions booklets will not be printed this year. Further work will be undertaken to check admission numbers and capacity.
The links to Vision 2025 are important with two sections being of particular relevance:
· Reduction in the number of our school buildings with an overall condition standard of C or D from 132 to 120 by 2025
· Reduce surplus places to 14% in primary (Baseline 16.7%) and 21% in secondary (Baseline 24%) by 2020
It is essential that the correct information is available for monitoring purposes.
This information will be checked.
Two new primary schools are being built in Welshpool. When is it projected that these schools will be at capacity?
This information will be provided after the meeting.
How does the Schools Asset Management Plan work to ensure that money is appropriately spent on schools which are viable in the short to medium term? Is the work undertaken some years ago by PwC being used in this regard?
The Schools Asset Management Plan does make reference to the School Organisation Policy and will consider looking again at the PwC modelling using updated figures.
When schools and local members submit a list of major concerns and little appears to be done is this because of a lack of money or because of problems with the Heart of Wales Property Service?
Investment is prioritised and this includes prioritising health and safety and safeguarding concerns. There are concerns regarding the capacity of the Heart of Wales Property Service to deliver what is required. There is also insufficient money to do all of the small scale improvements which are identified but need is prioritised over aesthetics.
How does the Schools Asset Management Plan support the Welsh Government aim of increasing the number of Welsh speakers?
This is supported by way of the links between the School Asset Management Plan, the ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
To consider a report on School Budgets
· School budgets 2018-19 update as at 30th June 2018
This report is based on figures to the end of June which is nearly three months ago. Information to the end of August are showing an improvement but the next full report will be the half yearly position at the end of September. Since the last Cabinet report notices of concern were sent to schools with unlicensed deficits and also to those schools in a potential claw back position. A response has been received from all schools. The schools have until the 29th September 2018 to submit their recovery plans.
In 2020/21 six High Schools are showing projected deficits of £5.31million. Are these figures based on the recovery plans that have been put in place now?
The June figure does not include the impact of actions taken under recovery plans. Schools have until 29th September to submit recovery plans and interim figures which show the impact of the recovery plans on those schools who have submitted them shows an improving position of £400k by 2020/21.
In the case for example of Brecon High at what stage does the authority step in?
There are a number of issues in this case with a long history of a deficit budget position. The Funding Formula Review will provide information on appropriate levels of funding for different sized schools. It must be remembered that are children currently in education in these schools with deficit budgets. It is also clear that action needs to be taken to address this positon.
It is of concern that school funding is so cloudy. The Funding Formula Review will draw a baseline and provide clarity on school funding, based on evidence moving forward.
Scrutiny have been commenting on school budgets for a considerable length of time and at previous scrutiny the Portfolio Holder has indicated that delegation would be withdrawn. The position regarding Brecon High is deteriorating and Scrutiny are reaching the end of their tether. This is one of the biggest risks to the authority. Why is the position to June 2018 still deteriorating? Is there insufficient money or poor management?
This more complex than simply either of these options and this complexity is echoed across Wales. Powys is mid table in delegation to schools and to increase delegation increased confidence around financial management would be needed. This is a cross Wales issue.
In two years forecasts appear to show all schools will be in deficit. Two schools have recently closed with a combined deficit of £1.15million. Do schools which are due to close operate effectively with a blank cheque book?
Not all schools who are due to close exhibit poor financial management. In the case of the two schools that closed in August 2018 the Governors were required to attend to discuss this and delegation was then withdrawn. It would not be appropriate to withdraw delegation when a school is due to close as most schools exhibit appropriate financial management but ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee.
The Chair drew to Members attention the discussions that had taken place between Scrutiny and Audit Chairs and Officers regarding the urgent Portfolio Holder decision taken in respect of Brecon Theatre. He expressed concern that there had been no opportunity to undertake pre-decision scrutiny. This matter had not been included on the Cabinet Work Programme and therefore Joint Chairs were unaware that a decision was to be taken. The matter was on the agenda for the next meeting of Audit Committee but the Chairs and Vice-Chairs had expressed their disapproval in the way this decision had come to be taken and hoped that there would be earlier engagement with scrutiny if any other urgent decisions needed to be taken.
1st October 2018 – School Standards including Looked After Children, attendance, exclusions and use of PDG
Annual Estyn Inspection outcomes
17th October 2018 - Post 16 Review
Review of pre-school provision
HOWPS annual report
2nd November 2018 - ALN Review
22nd November 2018 - Funding Formula Review
1st October 2018 Schools Standards
Annual Estyn Inspection outcomes
17th October 2018 Post 16 Review
Review of pre-school provision
HOWPS annual report
2nd November 2018 ALN Review
Funding Formula Review