Agenda and minutes
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Contact: Bryony Gibbs, Governance Officer Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members
Apologies were received by Councillor Stephens and appointed observer John Roche.
Declarations of interests
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.
The following interests were declared for transparency:
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.
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.