Agenda item - Chairs Communications

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Agenda item

Chairs Communications


16.1    The Chair delivered the following communication:


          This is my first chair’s comms and I wanted to start by congratulating the amazing children we have in our excellent primary and secondary schools. Their hard work and dedication has meant they achieved better than UK average A level results, while GCSE results are significantly above the pre-pandemic results of 2019. These excellent results are despite the very difficult challenges young people – and their parents – have faced over the past four years. I’d like us to give a round of applause to each and every one of our students and wish them the best of luck on the next stage of their lives.


          I’d also like to thank our schools and all the teaching and non-teaching staff for their commitment and dedication to fulfilling the potential of our city’s young people. Sadly though, we also have to acknowledge there are still significant disadvantages for certain sections of our varied and diverse communities. Following on from full council, we’re bringing today a paper to include being a care leaver as a protected characteristic which will support the council’s duties as a Corporate Parent.


          Poverty is also a significant factor in the inequality of educational outcomes and as a report in The Guardian shows more than half of children who grew up in the most deprived households hold qualifications of only up to GCSE level or below. On the other hand, almost half of those from the richest households have graduated from university. As a council we’re committed to working with schools to try to find ways to bridge that gap.


          I would like to thank officers for working so hard with us over the summer to seek new ways that we can support schools which we will bring to the committee in later sessions. In Brighton the birth rate is falling which means there are fewer children starting school this September than last and this will be true in subsequent years. Every empty place puts pressure on school budgets as the Government again asks schools to do more with less money. We acknowledge that falling numbers are putting pressure on schools and their budgets and we will seek to support schools wherever possible. Councillor Taylor and myself are looking forward to visiting many schools and seeing the excellent work they’re doing and the different ways they’re supporting their students in these tricky fiscal times.


          It’s also appropriate that I thank the emergency services and school staff for their rapid response to a fire at Carden School during the holidays which ensured that only one classroom was damaged and so the school was able to open as normal last week.


As I’m sure you’re aware, we recently took the Home Office to court in a bid to stop the Government from routinely placing unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in hotel. The High Court declared it is indeed unlawful. It was a huge victory for this council. Despite the judgement, the Home Office refuses to rule out using the city’s hotels again, instead saying they will only use it as a last resort. We are therefore being forced to continue live litigation, with the case in in the High Court this Friday 15 September, and will look to bring a paper to committee in November.


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