Agenda item

Ian Head asked the Executive Member for Children's Services the following question:




Do you have faith in the Aldryngton Primary School governors to make the best possible choices and exercise sound judgement for the pupils of the school? 



The Council has faith in the Aldryngton School to make appropriate choices and exercise sound judgement over the matters that it has responsibility for.


The Council should not expect or require the governing body to take responsibility for matters that are the Council’s own responsibility; including the duty to ensure there are sufficient school places.


In considering the expansion of Aldryngton primary school, the Council has to consider the interests of the pupils attending the school as well as the needs of other Earley children who are prospective pupils at the school.


Without advance planning to ensure sufficient school places, some of these children might not secure a place at a local school, despite living within the school’s designated area.


Supplementary Question

Therefore the governors’ obligation, to make the best possible choices and exercise their best judgement, extends to future pupils as well.   When considering the Council’s proposed expansion of the school the governors considered the proposal in its entirety and concluded that they cannot support the plans for reasons of pupils’ safety and because of site limitations and that they will adversely affect the wellbeing and experience of pupils not only of those already in the school but also for those of the additional intake.  The selection of Aldryngton primary as a candidate for expansion was approved at the Executive meeting on 28 January 2016 yet the first time the school was consulted about the proposed expansion was in September 2016 and despite strong objections expressed by the school the Council proceeded with the plans.  At the January Executive meeting approval was given subject to further evaluation and discussion with the school.  Councillor Haitham Taylor was the Executive Member for Children’s Services and also rightly stated that expansion was subject to the support of the school.  Do you intend to honour this statement?


Supplementary Answer

I understand you are extremely worried about the issue of not only your pupils at the moment but also future pupils and we have discussed that earlier in the week.  I think there have been disagreements about what we feel as a Council can be achieved by the expansion and what you feel are your views as a school about the expansion.  I think that after today, and the recommendation, there needs to be some further work and much dialogue between yourselves and the Headteacher and we need to work through all of the issues that you have raised and the school have raised to work out if this plan is something that the school could be happy with in the future should the demand be needed.


The Leader of Council thanked Mr Head, the Headteacher and those who were also in attendance who he met with the other day which he found to be very useful and helpful and he felt had gone some way to start mending some of the bridges that we have to mend for the sake of the children.