Issue - meetings

Meeting: 08/05/2024 - Cabinet (Item 544)

544 The Future of Kingswear Primary School pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Report of the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport (CET/24/30) on the future of Kingswear Primary School, attached.

 

An Impact Assessment has been prepared, is attached, and also available on the website at https://www.devon.gov.uk/impact/kingswear-primary-school-impact-assessment/. 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED

 

(a) that the decision of the Secretary of State for Education to close Kingswear Primary (Academy) School be endorsed; and

 

(b) that the proposed new designated area for the area currently served by Kingswear Primary School to inform school transport eligibility be approved, should the decision be made by the Secretary of State to close Kingswear Primary School.

Minutes:

(Councillors Biederman, Hawkins and Wrigley attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).

 

The Cabinet considered the Report of the Director of Climate Change, Environment and Transport (CET/24/30) on the future of Kingswear Primary School, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.

 

Kingswear Primary was an academy school within the Education South West Multi Academy Trust and a co-educational school for ages 5 to 11. The Trust had been in discussion regarding the viability of the school with the Department for Education (DfE) for a number of years due to a decreasing number of children on roll and therefore the financial and educational sustainability of the school. There had been no children on roll since the beginning of the academic year September 2023 and no preferences for admission into the Reception Class for September 2024.

 

As Kingswear Primary was an academy it was the Secretary of State who made the final decision regarding the future of the school. The DfE had received an in-principle decision from the Secretary of State to close the school. However, prior to the Secretary of State making a substantive decision to close, the Council are asked to agree to the closure as it was identified as a Rural school.

 

The Report outlined the six stage process that had to be followed under DfE guidance which included consideration of closure, seeking in principle agreement, in principle decision to close, seeking a substantive decision on closure by the Secretary of State, substantive closure/termination of Funding Agreement decision by the Secretary of State, followed by a ‘Listening Period’ held by the Academy Trust and then approval and implementation of closure.

 

The process was at stage 3 with an in-principle decision from the minister (Stage 3) to close the School and was now seeking the County Council’s agreement. The listening period allowed stakeholders and interested parties to submit views on how the school closure process could be best managed, it was not a consultation on the decision itself.

 

The Report outlined the previous numbers on roll, outcome of inspections and the difficulty of presenting a balanced curriculum with such low numbers. Analysis of pupil plots showed less migration to Kingswear from Dartmouth and the Torbay areas and health data showed low future cohorts of pre-school aged children living in the Kingswear designated area (5 children due for admission into Reception Class September 2024 (with no applications), 4 for September 2025, 3 for September 2026 and 5 for September 2027. Local planning had also been analysed as well as the capacity in other local schools which was adequate.

 

All children were entitled to free home to school transport, in line with DCC’s home to school transport policy, if they attended the nearest/designated school to their home address and they were of statutory school age, lived more than two miles away by the shortest walking route for primary and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 544