77 School Places Strategy 2023-2027
Report of the Chief Executive.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Education, and Skills, presented a report seeking approval the School Places Strategy.
It was explained that the fundamental aim was to provide places near to where children live, to meet parental preferences as far as possible, to locate schools at the heart of their communities, and to minimize travel to school distances. Details were provided on the number of schools in Wiltshire, the importance of rural school designation, declining birth rates and the associated impact, engagement with schools, and other matters.
Cllr Jon Hubbard, Chairman of the Children’s Select Committee, stated his committee was content with the report. He also noted a comment received in feedback from a parish council raising a concern about secondary schools being asked to host satellite provision on behalf of Special Schools, and sought assurance the Cabinet agreed that such provision was a positive thing and encouraging attendance at mainstream schools was still the aim. Cllr Mayes confirmed it was.
Cllr Gordon King, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, sought details on replacement of school structures, and if this was done with future growth in mind. It was explained sometimes maintenance was required which necessitated replacement, but if expansion was needed the team looked at the data to identify and plan for this.
At the conclusion of discussion, it was then,
That Cabinet approved the School Places Strategy 2023–2027.
To enable the Council to fulfil its statutory duties to ensure sufficient school places and increase opportunities for parental choice.