West Berkshire Council

Agenda item

Highwood Copse Funding (Ian Pearson/Melanie Ellis)


Ian Pearson introduced the report (Agenda Item 9), which sought discussion on funding of Highwood Copse School.

A new school (Highwood Copse) had been due to open in September 2019 and funding was set aside for this purpose, which had been agreed by the Department for Education (DfE). The school would have been classed as a ‘free school’ and operated within the same framework as academy schools. The Academy Sponsor was Newbury College and Theale Primary School was a support partner. The process had been on schedule however, the construction company had gone into administration and the issue had not yet been resolved. The contract was currently out to tender. 

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) had awarded £88,682 in grant money for the new school for 2019/20 and had confirmed that they would not recoup the money but alternatively recommended that the funding should be moved to the Growth Fund and allocated out to the schools that had taken on the pupils (detailed in section 3.3 of the report).

Ian Pearson concluded that the recommendation was to use the funding that had been allocated to Highwood Copse to fund the schools that had taken on the pupils (set out in 4.1) and to fund Theale Primary School for the costs they would incur (set out in 4.2). 

The report had been considered by the Heads’ Funding Group (HFG) on 5th June 2019 and it had recommended that the allocation amounts set out in the report should be approved by the Schools’ Forum. David Ramsden added that the HFG had discussed the shortfall faced by Theale Primary School and the reasons behind it.

Jon Hewitt proposed that the Schools’ Forum approve the recommendation to use the funding to fund the schools that had taken on the pupils and to fund the costs incurred by Theale Primary School. This was seconded by Reverend Mark Bennet and at the vote the motion was carried.

RESOLVED that the recommendation set out in section 2.1 of the report was approved. 

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