Agenda item - Public Involvement
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To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: to receive any petitions presented to the full council or at the meeting itself;
(1) School Inset Days
(b) Written Questions: to receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 5th October 2015;
(c) Deputations: to receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 5th October 2015.
30.1 The Committee considered a petition signed by 168 people regarding School Inset Days. Ms A Heath presented the petition to the Committee.
30.2 The Chair gave the following response:
Local authorities do not have the power to instruct schools when to take their Inset days. In Brighton & Hove we are unusual in that all schools agree to take the first day of term in September, but the autonomy designed to enable them to best meet the needs of their own institutions would mean that we could not direct them. Some schools do disaggregate some of their inset days (where staff attend a series of twilight meetings rather than a whole day). Again, this was a school decision and some schools in the city already do this, usually at the beginning or end of a school term.
Officers will look in to the impact of the scheme in Wales and also look at practice in neighbouring authorities to see what they do and whether it is possible to look across the region. We will encourage schools to seek the views of parents and consider options.
30.3 The Committee thanked Ms Heath for her petition.
30.4 Councillor Barradell proposed that a report on this matter be brought to a future meeting of the Committee. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Phillips. The Committee voted and agreed the proposal.
30.5 Councillor Phillips said that she was broadly in favour of combining Inset days, but as an ex-teacher she also understood the importance of being able to spread training over a year as it was important for schools to be able to update teachers on changes to legislation, procedures etc. Mr Jones, Councillor Marsh and Councillor Chapman agreed, and said that whilst they supported the proposal they were concerned that training should be provided throughout the school year, however, one option could be to split the five days and add them to weekends during term time.
30.6 Ms A Holt supported the proposal but said that if the Inset days were combined and all schools in the city held them at the same time, it could lead to holiday prices being as high as during normal holiday periods.
30.7 Councillor Wealls asked if the Local Authority was responsible for setting term dates, and if it was could they be moved slightly. The Executive Director of Children’s Services said that it did set term dates for community schools, but it had a duty to consult with neighbouring authorities and that it was a statutory process and dates had to be set two years in advance.
30.8 REOLVED: That the Petition be noted, and a report be provided for a future meeting of the Committee.
30b Written Questions
30.9 There were none
30.10 There were none