Issue - meetings

Formal Consultation on School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School

Meeting: 14/10/2019 - Cabinet (Item 6)

6 Outcome of Call-in - Future School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School pdf icon PDF 104 KB

To consider a report detailing the outcome of a call-in considered by the Community & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on 2 Octoberr 2019.  The call-in related to the decision taken by Cabinet on 9 September 2019 in respect of the Formal Consultation on School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Having considered the report from the Head of Executive and Member Services and the supplementary report from the Strategic Director, Children and Young People, alongside representations from stakeholders and Councillor Ketan Sheth, on behalf of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, the Cabinet RESOLVED:

 

     i)        To confirm the original decision taken by Cabinet on 9 September 2019, enabling the decision to take immediate effect.

 

     ii)        That officers develop alternative options to meet the demand for education places for young people 16-25 with SEND at the Strathcona Site from September 2022 in conjunction with the Cabinet Members for Schools, Employment and Skills, Children's Safeguarding, Early Help and Social Care and Regeneration, Property & Planning.      

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council, stated that at its meeting on9 September 2019,Cabinet had considered thereport fromtheStrategicDirectorofChildren and Young People on The Future School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School”.

 

That Cabinet decision was subsequently called-in by 8 Members and the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee met on Wednesday 2 October to consider the call-in.

 

The Committee heard from the Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment and Skills and received representations from representatives of the councillors who had called-in the decision, ward members and a number of stakeholders.

 

In introducing the report, Councillor Ketan Sheth, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, stated that the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee had agreed to refer the decision back to Cabinet for reconsideration. Councillor Ketan Sheth thanked the Chief Executive, Strategic Director of Children and Young People and Cabinet Members for Schools, Employment and Skills for attending the call in meeting.

 

Councillor Ketan Sheth asked that Cabinet now reconsider its original decision, taking into account the reasons why the Scrutiny Committee decided to refer the matter back, and the recommendations made by the committee as an outcome of the call-in.

 

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council, informed the meeting that he had agreed a number of requests to speak on this item.

 

Jag Sidhu, Associate Head, outlined proposals to establish an ARP which would have as its ethos that children with ASD would spend as much time as they can manage on a day to day basis in the mainstream classes. Two rooms would be set up, one for Reception/KS1 and the other a KS2 room. This would provide the base for all the children coming daily into school and would be their home base for bus collection etc. The provision rooms are, by their very nature, vertically streamed rooms and therefore by going into mainstream rooms that are vertically streamed this would not pose any issues. 

 

Hema Dahale, a teacher at Roe Green Strathcona, stated that to say that due to the low number of pupils with an EHCP plan at RGI/Strathcona means ‘other Brent schools have more experience with SEND’ is utterly ludicrous and insulting.

 

Nicky Lobo, Headteacher, stated that Roe Green Strathcona has one DfE number and it is impossible to locate the Strathcona site on Brent’s website. She questioned the local authority’s consultation process about the planned closure saying that she had only been kept informed about the closure via a public blog.

 

Liz McLaren, Deputy Headteacher, questioned the financial implications mentioned in the reports. She said that educational benefits cannot be measured financially. She stated that the financial comments provided were inaccurate.

 

Sreedevi Manoj stated that teachers play a crucial role in transforming mental health provision. Teachers play a key role in identifying mental health issues early on.

 

Andrew Miller, Assistant Headteacher, stated that a lack of knowledge and understanding dating back to 2014 is why the council and school find themselves  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6


Meeting: 02/10/2019 - Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee (Item 3)

3 Call in of Cabinet Decision - Formal Consultation on School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School pdf icon PDF 98 KB

A decisionmade by the Cabineton9 September 2019inrespect of the Formal Consultation on School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School report fromtheCouncil’sStrategicDirectorChildren and Young People, hasbeencalled-in forconsideration bytheCommunity and Wellbeing ScrutinyCommittee,inaccordancewithStandingOrder 14.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Having received the report from the Strategic Director of Children and Young People detailing the background to the call-in referred to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration, the Chair began by inviting Councillors Kennelly and Chan to outline the reasons for the call-in and alternative action being sought as a result.

 

Councillor Kennelly introduced the reasons for the call-in by presenting a timeline to the committee. Members were informed that in 2013, Roe Green Infant School was approached by the Council for help in expanding the school to accommodate the predicted increase in demand for primary school places. The school provided this help and set up the new Roe Green Strathcona site and in doing so, took on a building in a poor state needing immediate refurbishment. In September 2016, the school had been made permanent based on their figures and successes. On 9 September 2019 Cabinet had taken the decision to close Roe Green Strathcona site. Councillor Kennelly felt that previously the school had been viewed as providing a saving and now was considered financially unviable. Furthermore, insufficient information had been provided regarding the future provision for the site, despite a number of proposals having been submitted by staff of the school - staff that now faced an uncertain future. In concluding his remarks, Councillor Kennelly felt that the advertising on the council’s website of the Strathcona site to parents was insufficient.

 

In co-presenting the reasons for the call-in, Councillor Chan stated a series of oversights that he felt had been made by the council, including that Cabinet had decided to make the Roe Green Strathcona Site permanent because it represented a cost saving and had now determined that it was not financially viable. He further highlighted that 99.8% of respondents to the survey conducted during the informal consultation stage did not want the school to close. Councillor Chan expressed his thanks to the staff who would be presenting additional or alternative uses for the site and recommended the Cabinet explore these proposals.

 

The Committee then moved on to consider representations from stakeholders who had requested to speak in relation to the call-in.  Comments made were as follows:

 

Jenny Cooper (National Education Union Representative) explained her role was to represent the National Education Union (NEU) members of Roe Green Infant School and Strathcona who, at the time of speaking, had taken their fourth day of industrial action to protect their jobs. The committee heard that the staff wanted written assurances that there would be no compulsory redundancies. Jenny Cooper stated that the community at Roe Green Infant School were not responsible for cuts or falling demand for school places but were responsible for establishing successful schools with good results and happy pupils and parents. It was felt that the council had failed to engage with alternative proposals drawn up by the staff and representatives of Roe Green Infant School.

 

Mary Adossides (Chair of Brent Trades Council) acknowledged the financial position local authorities were facing, but felt that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3


Meeting: 09/09/2019 - Cabinet (Item 7)

7 Formal Consultation on School Organisation Arrangements of Roe Green Infant School pdf icon PDF 183 KB

This report provides Cabinet with a summary of the formal consultation undertaken between 26 June 2019 and 24 July 2019 on a change in the age range of Roe Green Infant School and the closure of primary provision on the Roe Green Strathcona site from September 2020.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: that Cabinet determined the proposal published in a statutory notice on 26 June 2019 to:

 

     i)        change the age range of Roe Green Infant School from 3-11 to 3-7;

 

    ii)        reduce the school’s Published Admission Number (PAN) from 150 to 120 for September 2020;

 

   iii)        implement a phased closure of the provision on the Roe Green Infant School Strathcona site so that no new admissions are made into any Reception cohort from September 2020 and the site is fully closed at the end of July 2022.

Minutes:

Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of the Council, informed the meeting that a number of requests to speak from members of the public and Councillors on this item had been received. He informed the meeting that he intended to allow those speakers to speak first after which he would ask Councillor Amer Agha, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills & Employment, to introduce the report and respond to the points raised.

 

Councillor Butt welcomed Mary Adossides, Chair, Brent Trades Council, to the meeting. Ms Adossides urged the Cabinet to reconsider the proposed closure of the Strathcona unit and the potential subsequent loss of jobs and educational provision. She highlighted the need for SEN provision and pleaded with the Cabinet to reaffirm its commitment to state education.

 

Councillor Butt welcomed Gloria Amadi, Chair of the Roe Green Infant / Strathcona School Governing Body to the meeting. Ms Amadi stated that she felt no counter arguments put forward during the consultation process had been seriously considered by Brent Council. She stated that the proposals, if approved, would impact negatively on the most disadvantaged in society and the life chances of children. She stated that the pupils and parents at Roe Green Infant / Strathcona wanted the school to remain open. She blamed the current situation on the Council’s poor school admission planning process.

 

Mrs Nicole Lobo, Executive Head Teacher, drew Cabinet Members’ attention to the report appendices stating that 542 responses to the consultation had been received. She stated that 99.8% of those responses disagreed with the closure.

 

Ms Marina Aziz, Assistant Head Teacher, read excerpts from a letter sent by a pupil to Councillor Butt which spoke of the positive experiences of pupils attending the school.

 

Ms Noreen Ahmed, a parent at the school, informed the meeting she was speaking on behalf of all the parents. She spoke of the friendly teaching staff and how the teachers help children. She stated that all children are treated equally stating that the school is more than a school, it is a family and community.

 

Marisa Malgieri said that she had been a teacher at Roe Green for the past ten years. She stated that the teaching corps had worked to maintain consistency and cohesion across the two sites. She stated that the proposed closure had deterred parents from applying during the admissions process. She stated that the proposed closure was soul destroying for the children.

 

Mrs J Sidhu, Head of School, Roe Green Strathcona, spoke of the alternative v additional use of the site. She stated that the Strathcona site was perfect for educating children with moderate learning difficulties given the good site access. She informed the meeting that the site could also be used as a family respite centre.

 

Ms E McLaren, Deputy Head Teacher, spoke to Cabinet of the length of the process leading to today’s Cabinet decision. She spoke of the informal and formal process. She stated that at no point did the school community feel it had been listened  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7