Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms, Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Darren Jenkins.





Councillor Harmer declared that she was a Trustee of Ripley Arts Centre and Councillor Turner declared that he was a Governor of Bromley Adult Education College.



Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2015 were approved, and signed as a correct record.


The Committee congratulated former Co-opted Member Delores Bray-Ash on the MBE she had been awarded in the New Years Honours.  The Committee also congratulated Sam Parrett, the Principal of Bromley College, on the OBE she had been awarded in the New Years Honours.



To hear questions to the Committee received in writing by the Democratic Services Team by 5.00pm on Wednesday 13th January 2015 and to respond.  Questions must relate to the work of the scrutiny committee.



No questions had been received.





Dominic Herrington, the Regional Schools Commissioner for South-East England and South London addressed the Committee  (presentation attached at Appendix A) and outlined his remit and responsibilities as Regional Schools Commissioner.


In response to a question surrounding how the Local Authority could work with academy schools to ensure that the Local Authority’s statutory duties were met, Mr Herrington stressed that his focus was very much on standards within schools  but that he was also happy to facilitate discussions when the Local Authority raised issues directly with schools.


In response to a question concerning local authority representation on the governing bodies of academy schools, Mr Herrington reiterated that governance was critical to the future health of schools.  The Department for Education (DfE) was trying to focus more on the skills of school governors in order to drive improvement.  The DfE had been working with larger corporations to attract people from professional backgrounds to governing bodies in order to bring organisational and professional expertise to school governance.


In response to a question, Mr Herrington highlighted the range of benefits that could be realised from Schools forming Multi Academy Trusts.  One particular benefit was the range of expertise that could be shared amongst groups of schools to lend expertise and provide support.


The Committee considered the difficulties in sustaining a local authority education department for a small number of local authority maintained schools.  In response, Mr Herrington reported that there would be a key role for Local Authorities moving into the future as they would always have statutory responsibility for areas such as admissions, place planning, safeguarding, and transport.  There would need to be an open and honest dialogue about these key issues moving forward.


In response to a question surrounding how the DfE is encouraging schools to open in the area and the criteria used when applications were being assessed, Mr Herrington reported that the DfE was keen to promote areas of need and encourage applications for schools in high areas of need.  In terms of the assessment of applications, key considerations were the leadership and governance of the proposer, the proposer’s track record, the curriculum model and the need for provision in the area (based on local authority data).  Applications for schools would be rejected if they were not of a high enough standard.


The Committee considered the key role that would be played by Free Schools in meeting future demand for school places.  The difficulties obtaining planning permission and the need to be creative in identifying future sites for schools was discussed.


The Chairman  thanked Mr Herrington for attending the meeting.




Petition: Bromley Adult Education College pdf icon PDF 192 KB


In December 2015, a petition from Mr T. Anderson, asking the Council to keep the Widmore Adult Education Centre open, and containing in excess of 1,000 signatures was received.  The full prayer of the petition was:


“We the undersigned urge Bromley Council to keep the Widmore Centre Adult Education Centre open as a facility for adult education.  To maintain at that central point the provision of services in general education and the arts to the people of Bromley.”


As the petition contained over 1,000 signatures it exceeded the threshold required for it to be considered by Full Council however, due to the timing of consideration of this matter by the Executive the Lead Petitioner elected for it to be considered by the Education PDS Committee.


The Lead Petitioner, Mr Anderson, address the Committee and highlighted the range of vocational and developmental training that was offered by the Adult Education College.  Mr Anderson stressed that adult education was a valuable provision and outlined that the service would grow in importance with the ageing population.  Mr Anderson concluded by asking the Council to rethink the proposals.


The Chairman thanked Mr Anderson for presenting the petition.


The Committee agreed that the petition should be forwarded to the Executive for consideration when a decision on the Adult Education Service was taken.



RESOLVED: That the Executive be asked to consider the petition on 10 February 2016.


Bromley Adult Education College Update pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Additional documents:


Following pre-decision scrutiny at the meeting of the Education Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee on 8 July 2015, the Executive recommended that Officers commence consultation with staff, their representatives, stakeholders and service users on proposals to restructure and reduce the adult education service.  The Committee considered a report outlining the outcomes from the public consultation and staff engagement process.


A total of 1,159 responses to the consultation had been received, of which 1,035 were completed and 124 were partial responses.  Of the completed responses, 14 respondents identified themselves as stakeholders and the remainder were students and/or members of the public.   A breakdown of the responses that had been received was attached to the report at Appendix 2.  In addition to this, an Equalities Impact Assessment had been undertaken and was attached to the report considered by the Committee at Appendix 5.


A significant volume of the feedback that had been received from staff and members of the public expressed concern about the loss of the Widmore site as a key delivery point for adult education and the subsequent loss of specialist subjects from any remaining adult education offer.  Staff, students and other stakeholders also commented on the many benefits that a rich adult education offer brings to both individuals and the communities it serves.  In particular, leisure courses were seen as a lifeline to many, helping to keep people mentally and physically health, preventing social isolation, providing respite to carers, and allowing people to express their creativity.  Concern was expressed that a reduction in provision would have a negative impact on the wellbeing of some residents and lead to increased costs for other services such as health and social care.


Following closure of the consultation period, Officers within the adult education service had been in dialogue with various local community organisations with a view to identifying alternative ways to allow continuation of a wide range of adult learning activities within the Borough should the proposals go ahead.


In considering the report, the Committee noted that there was a range of facilities in the Borough available through a number of providers.  Members stressed the importance of marketing the courses available from alternative providers and signposting service users to the alternative provision.


A Member noted that there was currently a range of specialist equipment at the Widmore Centre and suggested that it would be helpful to complete an inventory of the equipment to ensure that it was not lost.  It was also suggested that when the new curriculum was being developed, consideration should be given to prioritising courses that required specialist equipment that may not be available at alternative locations.


The Committee noted the Impact Assessment Action Plan and asked that the actions were taken forward and addressed, particularly the actions relating to signposting services.


A number of Members acknowledged the obvious impact that the Adult Education Services had on people’s lives but recognised that the service could not remain as it was and needed to me more sustainable as it moved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.



To hear questions to the Portfolio Holder received in writing by the Democratic Services Team by 5.00pm on Wednesday 13th January 2015 and to respond.  Questions must relate to the work of the Portfolio.



No questions had been received.





The Portfolio Holder gave an update to Members on work being undertaken across the Education Portfolio.  The Portfolio Holder had made a range of visits to schools and community groups and had been on a tour of the Youth Offending Services.


The Portfolio Holder reported that there were still challenges with planning applications for schools and a new approach would need to be identified as it was clear that the current approach was not fit for purpose.  Work was being undertaken to identify where there was specific need for school places and where future pressures for school places would develop.


Discussions were underway with schools that had not yet converted to academy status to see how any future conversions could be facilitated.


In response to question about the timing of a future Ofsted inspection, the Director for Education reported that the Children’s Service was expecting an inspection at any time but that it was unlikely that the School Improvement Service would be inspected in the immediate future.


The Director for Education reported that there were no conformed plans for a University Technical College (UTC) site although discussions were still ongoing.


Finally, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that Oaklands School were planning to expand.  The importance of keeping local ward members informed had been raised in discussions with the school.  The Portfolio Holder stressed that pressures around the statutory responsibility to provide school places for Bromley children would continue to increase and a new strategy for obtaining planning permission would need to be developed in order to address a number of issues that had arisen in the past.



RESOLVED that the Portfolio Holder update be noted.


Education Portfolio Plan September 2015-August 2015 - Update pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder for Education introduced an update on the 2015/16 Education Portfolio Plan priorities.  The 2015/16 plan focused on seven key priorities, covering both the changing environment and the statutory duties of the local authority including ensuring an adequate supply of school places, and determining the special educational needs of qualifying pupils, in support of the Education Covenant and Commitments.


RESOLVED: That the update be noted


Update on Youth Offending Service Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 220 KB

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder for Education introduced a report providing an update on the progress of the Youth Offending Service (YOS) Improvement Plan and the work being undertaken by the Youth Offending Team.


The report was the third update to be presented to the Committee since the development of the YOS Improvement Plan.  The updated plan demonstrated that work had progressed on all planned actions and that the service continued to work hard to introduce further improvements identified in the plan.


As a result of the weekly data cleaning exercise more accurate performance data was being produced.  Management performance reports had been reviewed and improved and included monitoring against national standards, the measurements which would be used by HMIP when they re-inspected the service.  The service structure was also being reviewed by the Interim Head of the YOS to reflect the changes that had been introduced following implementation of the Improvement Plan.  Where possible, efficiency savings would be identified in order to respond to the reductions in the YJB grant and LBB planned revenue savings.  The YOS Management Board had agreed that that the NACRO ISS service contract would not be renewed for the next financial year with provision being brought in-house to contribute towards the required savings.


The YOS Management Team were also due to commence work on the Performance Management Framework which would complement the Workforce Development Plan.  Work had also been ongoing around quality, assessment and planning with the Management Team embarking on a monthly audit programme of casework.  All case workers would be attending the Signs of Safety training and all YOS Managers would be attending refresher Quality Assurance training.  In addition to this, monthly team meetings were being utilised to provide additional staff training.


In considering the report, the Chairman expressed concern at the apparent delay in improvements in the Service.  In response the Interim Head of the YOS reported that the audits that had been conducted in December (and would be reported to the next Education PDS meeting) showed much more progress.  The Service had started from a very low based and had made significant and sustainable progress.  A mock inspection would be carried out by the Youth Justice Board from 21 March 2016 to 23 March 2016 and this would give a much clearer indication of the progress that had been made.


In response to a question concerning the benefit of the monthly coffee morning offered for parents and carers, the Deputy Head of the YOS reported that at the last session there had been three attendees but that Officers hoped that they would become better attended as time progressed.  Parents and carers were a particularly difficult group to engage and a lot of time was being invested in engaging with this group with the Parenting Worker also making home visits.


The Committee considered the importance of training and support for staff.  The Interim Head of the YOS highlighted that there was more robust supervision of staff and this also incorporated continued learning and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57b



The Education Portfolio Holder to present scheduled reports for pre-decision scrutiny on matters where he is minded to make decisions.



Secondary and Primary Development Plans pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder introduced a report asking Members to consider the Council’s strategy to meet the forecast pupil numbers in Primary and Secondary schools to 20131 and to endorse the recommendations of the School Places Working Party.


The Local Authority had statutory responsibility for ensuring that there were sufficient school places to meet demand in the Borough.  The most immediate issue facing the Authority over recent years had been the significant increase in the need for primary school places, with reception intake increasing from approximately 3,400 in 2009 to approximately 4,050 in 2015.


The Council’s strategy to meet the additional demand was a combination of bulge classes, permanent expansion of existing schools and new free schools.  This provided the necessary flexibility to ensure that the demand could be met whilst remaining sensitive to the preferences expressed by parents.


The Portfolio Holder informed the Committee that ward packs, containing a detailed breakdown of the information, had been produced and would be distributed to ward councillors and members that there governors in specific areas.


The Chairman of the School Places Working Group stressed the importance of Councillors taking a Borough-wide view when considering education issues rather than a more local ward-level view.  The need to ensure that there were sufficient school places for Bromley children was of paramount importance and the pressures around school places was only going to worsen, it was a problem that was not going away.


The Chairman stressed that the reality was that the population of London was growing and the local authority needed to have sustainable plans in place to meet its statutory responsibilities.


RESOLVED: that the Portfolio Holder be recommended to


i)   Note the projections for primary and secondary need;

  ii)  Agree a margin of 5% above the Greater London Authority projection for primary and secondary place planning to provide for local variations in need and to meet parental preferences;

  iii)   Agree that discussions be undertaken with primary schools identified for expansion with a view to reporting the outcome to a future meeting of Education PDS Committee;

  iv)   Agree that feasibility studies be undertaken in consultation with identified primary schools to assess the scope and cost of school enlargement;

  v)   Agree that where primary school expansion is agreed, implementation be funded through the Education Capital Programme, subject to the availability of funds;

  vi)  Agree that proposals for the expansion of existing secondary schools be brought forward to the Executive for approval.

  viii)  Agree that local Councillors be involved with any planning proposals for the expansion or establishment of schools at the pre-planning application stage.



Basic Need Update pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:


The Portfolio Holder introduced providing an update on the delivery and future planning of the Council’s Basic Need Capital Programme that supported the provision of sufficient pupil places through improvements to and extensions of Bromley Schools.


The Council received Basic Need Capital Grant from the Department for Education (DfE) to support the delivery of sufficient school places, with a total of £70.9m so far allocated for 2011-2018.  In addition, the Basic Need capital programme also included capital contributions from a range of other capital funding programmes including Seed Challenge, Access Initiate and Suitability, along with Section 106 contributions.


There were currently schemes to the value of £82.8m either completed or projects in delivery (funded).  These had been allocated £71.7m from the Basic Need Capital Scheme and £10.9m from other sources.  There was currently a £0.5m budget shortfall for these schemes, but this could  be covered by the programme contingency.  There was currently insufficient funding provided by the DfE and other sources to deliver all the schemes within the Basic Need Programme.  A new category of scheme in development (unfunded) had been added for schemes where they were being entered into the main delivery programme with constriction subject to funds becoming available.  Design development of schemes not in the delivery phase (funded or unfunded) of the programme would continue, but schemes would not be brought forward for delivery until funding was available.


A planning application had been submitted for works at Bishop Justus School and Trinity CE Primary School.  It was envisaged that this would provide additional capacity for future bulge classes at Bishop Justus School and act as a first step towards a 2FE expansion at the school and allow for the future expansion of Trinity CE Primary to 4FE.


RESOLVED: That the Portfolio Holder be recommended to


i)   Approve the updated list of schemes as outlined at section Appendix 1;

ii)   Agree the procurement of individual schemes within the Basic Need Programme through traditional procurement, the Lewisham Modular Buildings Framework or through the devolution of Basic Need Capital Grant to schools and to delegate authority to the Director of Education in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Education for the award of contracts up to a value of £500,000 for individual schemes procured through these routes; and,

  iii)   Authorise the Director of Education to seek planning permission through the relevant schools planning strategy for schemes at the appropriate time when required.




The items comprise:


  • Education Outcomes for Children in Care
  • Minutes of the Education Budget Sub-Committee meeting held on 5th January 2016
  • Contract Activity Update
  • School’s Performance Update


Members and Co-opted Members have been provided with advance copies of the briefing via e-mail.  The briefing is also available on the Council's Website at the following link:


Additional documents:


The Education Briefing comprised four reports:


·  Education Outcomes for Children in Care

·  Minutes of the Education Budget Sub-Committee on 14 January 2016

·  Contract Activity Update

·  School’s Performance Update


RESOLVED: That the Information Briefing be noted.




The Committee considered a report providing an update with regard to school performance and the implementation of the local policy of Academy conversion.


No Ofsted inspections had taken place in Bromley since the previous update in November 2015.  Ofsted had published its Annual Report for 2014-15.  The reported findings included the percentage of pupils educated in primary schools with ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ rating.  In Bromley this was 77%, compared to a south-east average of 85%.  The percentage for Bromley was 4 points down on the previous year and meant that Bromley was in the lowest quarter of authorities in the country.  In terms of secondary performance the picture was much more positive.  Bromley was the second highest local authority in the Country for the number of children education in good or outstanding schools with 95% of secondary pupils educated in Academies.


Worsley Bridge Primary School converted to Academy status on 1 January 2016 with Burwood School and Burnt Ash Primary School deferring their conversion dates to 1 February 2016.


School improvement challenge and support was provided to all local authority schools with a ‘Requires improvement’ judgement.  The number of schools requiring support was reducing and the Local Authority was continuing to support 5 out of 6 primary phase schools.


In considering the report the Chairman noted that 6 ‘Requires Improvement’ schools had not yet received their expected 24-month inspections under the new Common Inspection Framework.  In addition 2 ‘Inadequate’ Academy Schools should also have now had their first post-conversion inspection.


The Portfolio Holder reported that the issues around primary performance had been noted and were a key portfolio priority.


RESOLVED: That the update on school’s performance be noted.


Education Programme 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee considered its forward rolling work programme for the year ahead based on items scheduled for decision by the Portfolio Holder for Education and items for consideration by the Education PDS Committee.


The Chairman requested that the Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) update also include missing children.


The Committee noted the schedule of Member visits for the Spring Term.


Members also noted that this would be the last meeting that James Mullender, Finance Manager, would be attending.  The Committee thanked him for all the work he had undertaken on its behalf.


RESOLVED: That the Education Programme 2015/16 be noted.



The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.



RESOLVED: that the press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it was likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.





The exempt minutes of the Education PDS meeting held on 24 November 2015 were agreed, and signed as a correct record.


Appendix A pdf icon PDF 2 MB


Original Text: