Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Oxford, OX11ND

Contact: Sue Whitehead  Tel: (01865) 810262; E-Mail:  sue.whitehead@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Note: 4.00 pm or immediately after the Council meeting whichever time is the later 

Items
No. Item

117/10

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received on behalf of Councillor Louise Chapman.

118/10

Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2010 (CA3 (to be circulated separately)) and to receive for information any matters arising therefrom.

Minutes:

Cabinet received the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2010 for information and agreed that they be submitted for approval to the next meeting.

119/10

Petitions and Public Address

Minutes:

The following request to address the meeting had been agreed:

 

Item 6, Oxford School – Outcome of Closure Consultation – Councillor Altaf-Khan, Shadow Cabinet Member for Schools Improvement.

120/10

Oxford School - Statutory Closure Notice pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Cabinet Member: Schools Improvement

Forward Plan Ref: 2010/157

Contact: Roy Leach, Lead Officer, School Organisation & Planning Tel: (01865) 816458

 

Report by Director for Children, Young People & Families (CA6).

 

The replacement of Oxford School with an academy requires the formal closure of the school. Cabinet agreed on the 10 August 2010 to the issuing of a formal statutory closure notice which was published on the 6 September 2010. The period in which representations could be made by interested parties closed on the 18 October 2010 and these are summarised in the report.  A formal decision by Cabinet to close Oxford School will allow the replacement academy to open in the existing school buildings on 1January 2011.

 

The Cabinet is RECOMMENDED to:

 

(a)               consider the representations made in response to the statutory closure notice with particular reference to the legal issues detailed in paragraphs 15 and 18 ; and

 

(b)              determine whether or not to approve the closure of Oxford School with effect from midnight, 31December 2010, subject to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools signing the funding agreement for the replacement academy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The replacement of Oxford School with an academy requires the formal closure of the school. Cabinet agreed on the 10 August 2010 to the issuing of a formal statutory closure notice which was published on the 6 September 2010. The period in which representations could be made by interested parties closed on the 18 October 2010 and these are summarised in the report (CA6).

 

Councillor Altaf-Khan, Shadow Cabinet Member for Schools Improvement spoke against the recommendations highlighting the number of comments in the representations received that referred to poor consultation. He noted that there were no comments in support of the proposals and referred to discussion in the Council meeting about the need to take on board consultations received on matters. He felt that a number of groups such as the local mosques had not been consulted. They represented significant numbers of children and despite lack of consultation with them being raised previously they had not been consulted.

 

Councillor Altaf-Khan went on to comment that originally it was expected that the Academy would bring with it further money. However there was no detail about financial benefit in the report and he felt that the only change would be to give away a public asset.  He believed that because of the process followed and the lack of consultation with local parents, a number of them would take their children away to other alternatives such as faith schools or look at the alternative of free schools. He felt that Oxford School would be left where it was rather than improving as intended.

 

A Cabinet Member drew attention to the low response numbers and queried whether Councillor Altaf-Khan in those circumstances felt that they were a good reflection of local views. Councillor Altaf–Khan replied that he saw that the numbers were low for the statutory consultations but that people had opposed the proposals in their hundreds at the informal stage. The mosques were opposed but had not been consulted.

 

Responding the Cabinet Member for Schools Improvement commented that during the statutory notice period the representatives of the mosques were in exactly the same situation as any one else and perfectly entitled to respond to the consultation. It was an opportunity for all to comment within the statutory process.

 

The Cabinet Member for Schools Improvement introduced the contents of the report commenting that he was keen to respond to each of the representations set out in Annex 4 and referred to in the report. In particular he drew attention to paragraphs 15 and 18 that should be borne in mind when considering the representations and noted that individuals would receive a written response to their representations. He outlined the history and context leading to the current position and stressed that due process had been followed throughout. The proposals had gained the support of two different governments. In addressing the representations in general he believed that no new questions had been raised and that there was no other viable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 120/10