Agenda and minutes
Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Tuesday, 14th December, 2010 5.30 pm
Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions
Contact: Mark Durnford 01225 394458
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked the Panel members to introduce themselves to the assembled public.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.
The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Councillors Marie Longstaff and Marian McNeir had sent their apologies to the Panel, they were represented at the meeting by Councillors Anthony Clarke and David Dixon respectively.
Apologies had also been received from Stuart Bradfield and Peter Mountstephen who are both non-voting co-opted members of the Panel.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST UNDER THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972
Members who have an interest to declare are asked to:
a) State the Item Number in which they have the interest
b) The nature of the interest
c) Whether the interest is personal, or personal and prejudicial
Any Member who is unsure about the above should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer prior to the meeting in order to expedite matters at the meeting itself.
There were none.
TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN
There was none.
ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING
At the time of publication no notifications had been received.
Councillor Eleanor Jackson addressed the Panel on the issue of Radstock Youth Centre. A copy of the statement can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book, a summary is set out below.
She spoke of how the team at Radstock Youth Centre were likely to be dispersed despite the fact that alternative funding is beginning to emerge and urged for a stay of execution while a transitional period is arranged.
She said that 12 months would be a reasonable period of time as she believed that both Radstock Parish Council and Midsomer Norton Town Council would be sympathetic and may shoulder quite a high proportion of the costs, as Keynsham Town Council is doing. She added that she felt it would be foolish to change the use of the Youth Centre until the master planning for the centre of Radstock is complete, and the future of the Victoria Hall is known.
She said that dedicated finances were likely to be available from new local developments, of which the Cautletts Close estate will provide the first significant sum. If the NRR are re-negotiating the Section 106 agreement for the development due to start in March 2011, then a contribution of £50,000 could reasonably be asked from them.
She asked that no variation be made until the end of March because other sums might be forthcoming when the dust has settled over the central government grants announcement.
She asked for the Panel to ‘overview and scrutinize’ the whole process and gave the following reasons:
i) A lack of transparency as to how the £53,000 secured by Councillor David Speirs at the Full Council meeting will be allocated between Keynsham and Radstock.
ii) There has been no LSA between Norton Radstock Town Council and B&NES for the £115,000 given over the last five years. The taxpayers want answers.
iii) Insufficient attention has been given to the poverty indicators in Radstock / Westfield.
iv) In 2006 sixty four young people used the Centre, 257 use it now from all over the area, that speaks volumes, we cannot afford to lose this service.
The Chairman asked for the Cabinet Member to respond to this matter at the January meeting of the Panel
Under the Council’s Constitution, any 10 Councillors not in the Council Cabinet may request that a Cabinet Decision made but not yet implemented to be reconsidered by the person or body who made it. This is called a “call-in” and has the effect of preventing the implementation of the decision pending a review of the Decision by an Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
This report sets out the call-in by 24 Councillors of a Decision made by the Cabinet relating to the proposal to close CulverhaySchool, Bath. The role of the Panel is to consider the issues raised by the call-in and to determine its response.
The Chairman asked the Panel if they were happy to approve the circulated Terms of Reference for the meeting
The Panel RESOLVED to approve the Terms of Reference.
The Chairman introduced the Overview and Scrutiny Manager and asked her to run through the procedure for the meeting.
The Overview and Scrutiny Manager explained the format of the meeting to those present.
The Chairman announced that there were to be 11 public speakers and that they would have three minutes to address the Panel, after which they may be asked questions relating to their statement.
Sean Turner, Deputy Head, Culverhay School
Mr Turner said that he wished to address the Panel primarily on points 6 – 10 of the Call-In, Pupil Numbers and Financial Viability. He argued that the figures quoted relating to surplus places were purely arbitrary.
The Cabinet has not recognised that if Culverhay were to become a co-educational establishment, and as such it would be more attractive to parents, it would cease to be a small school that requires extra funding for being a small school.
He felt it important to mention the fact that Culverhay has achieved a better than Local Authority average for narrowing the gap for pupils with Special Educational Needs.
Councillor Nathan Hartley asked what he felt the size of the school would be if it were allowed to become co-educational.
Mr Turner replied that he believed that a further intake of at least three figures would be possible if co-educational status were granted.
At the recent Cabinet meeting Councillor Watt used the consultation responses to justify his reasons for closing Culverhay. However it is now apparent that a large number of consultation documents were not included, especially those completed online. How can the consultation be fair if people’s views have not been included?
The consultation report states that 143 leaflets were received when we know that 182 were hand delivered. These were all opposed to the closure of Culverhay, and yet these numbers do not appear to have been added to the percentage of respondents opposed to the closure.
Two primary head teachers spoke in favour of Culverhay’s proposal to become an all-through academy at the last Cabinet meeting, one of them speaking on behalf of all 27 primary heads in the city and yet no consideration was given to their comments and no questions were asked of them. How can the Cabinet know better than 27 head teachers?
Finally, could the number of first choice places for St Mark’s School for next September be confirmed please? Apparently it is only 15. If this is true then even fewer parents have chosen St Mark’s than Culverhay, despite the blight impact that the proposed closure has placed on Culverhay.
The point of the re-organisation was to provide more co-ed, non-denominational places and yet this proposal will still only see 30% of Bath secondary school places as such, not the solution that parents have asked for.
Councillor Dine Romero ... view the full minutes text for item 76.