Agenda item - Raising Lower Age Range from Three to Four at Queen's Park and Middle Street Primary Schools

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Agenda item

Raising Lower Age Range from Three to Four at Queen's Park and Middle Street Primary Schools

Report of the Executive Director- Families, Children & Learning (copy attached).

Decision:

1)           That the Children, Young People and Skills Committee should confirm the proposal contained in the statutory notice and make a final decision to raise the lower age range by one year from three to four years at Queen’s Park primary school with the consequent closure of the school’s nursery classes with effect from 1st September 2017.

 

2)           That the Children, Young People and Skills committee should confirm the proposal contained in the statutory notice and make a final decision to raise the lower age range by one year from three to four years at Middle Street primary school with the consequent closure of the school’s nursery classes with effect from 1st September 2017.

 

3)           That the committee notes that the governing body of St Mark’s CE primary school has carried out a non-statutory process and has resolved to raise its lower age range by one year from three to four years and close its nursery class with effect from 1st September 2017.

Minutes:

11.1      The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Families, Children & Learning that provided feedback on the statutory representation period for the closure of nursery classes at Queen’s Park and Middle Street Primary Schools and sought a final decision approving changes to the age range at both.

 

11.2      The Chair of Governors of Middle Street Primary School explained to the Committee that whilst the recommendation to raise the lower age range at the school was one of great regret, the Governors were in no doubt that the subsidy of provision could no longer continue as it had a wider impact upon all children attending the school.

 

11.3      The Chair of Governors of Queens Park Primary School reiterated that statement and that for Queens Park, the raising of the lower age would allow the school to dedicate its resources in the most effective way.

 

11.4      Councillor Wealls noted that the committee had heard earlier in the meeting during public representation, an assertion that the Governors had not made enough sufficient effort to make Queens Park nursery sustainable and had not been willing to accept offers of help. Councillor Wealls asked the Chair of Governors if they had any response to that statement.

 

11.5      The Chair of Governors of Queens Park stated that the nursery had been advertised in the local area as well as the usual channels used by all schools and nurseries citywide but there had been a low response to that advertisement. The nursery itself was known in the area due to its link with the school and was part of the school branding however; approximately forty families had chosen not to send their children to the nursery.

 

11.6      Councillor Phillips asked if there was any indication of how the changes would impact staff.

 

11.7      The Childcare Strategy Manager replied that there was an ongoing consultation with staff with the likely outcome being that staff at Middle Street would take voluntary redundancy and all three members of staff at Queen’s Park had been offered other roles.

 

11.8      Councillor Penn highlighted the nationwide pressures on school funding that had contributed to the committee considering the issue. Councillor Penn asked if any assurance could be provided that there were sufficient nursery places in the local areas and enquired as to the likely impact if the nurseries were to remain open.

 

11.9      The Childcare Strategy Manager clarified that there were places in the area available in the local area and across the city as parents sometimes preferred nursery placements closer to their work.

 

11.10   The Governor of Middle Street School stated that costs did not reduce so if numbers continued at existing levels for the new term, there would be severe complications for the schools overall budget.

 

11.11   The Governor of Queens Park agreed with the above statement adding that in their case, the number of staff roles would need to be re-assessed.

 

11.12   Councillor Hamilton stated that schools throughout the city were facing serious budget pressures with those of one form entry particularly challenged as it was difficult to balance a budget below the maximum capacity of 30 children. Councillor Hamilton stated that central government were aware of the workings of schools and the difficulties they were facing and it would be with regret that he would support the recommendations.

 

11.13   RESOLVED-

 

1)           That the Children, Young People and Skills Committee should confirm the proposal contained in the statutory notice and make a final decision to raise the lower age range by one year from three to four years at Queen’s Park primary school with the consequent closure of the school’s nursery classes with effect from 1st September 2017.

 

2)           That the Children, Young People and Skills committee should confirm the proposal contained in the statutory notice and make a final decision to raise the lower age range by one year from three to four years at Middle Street primary school with the consequent closure of the school’s nursery classes with effect from 1st September 2017.

 

3)           That the committee notes that the governing body of St Mark’s CE primary school has carried out a non-statutory process and has resolved to raise its lower age range by one year from three to four years and close its nursery class with effect from 1st September 2017.

Supporting documents:

 


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