Officer Decisions

Head of Education and Learning - Dawn Stabb

Summary of Matter or Issue Requiring Decision:

Providing a Local Authority recommendation to the Regional Schools Commissioner (South West) for a preferred sponsor for the new secondary special school at Tiverton, Devon (Charlton Lodge).

Decision Taken:

Following officers’ assessments of the bids received to sponsor the new special school at Tiverton, the Head of Education and Learning in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Skills made the decision to recommend the Alternative Complementary Education (ACE) Schools Multi-Academy Trust as the Local Authority’s preferred sponsor.

The Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West has, following a meeting of their Headteacher Board, notified us that the ACE Schools Multi-Academy Trust has been given Secretary of State approval to sponsor the new secondary special free school in Tiverton.

Summary of Reason(s) for Decision Taken:

The free school presumption process is the main route by which local authorities establish schools in order to meet the need for additional places. Under section 6A (the ‘free school presumption’) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, bids were invited by Devon County Council from potential sponsors to run the proposed new secondary special school in Tiverton on the site of a former care-home known as Charlton Lodge.

The new special school will be a 70 place Autistic and Social, Emotional and Mental Health Specific provision for pupils aged 11-16 to be opened September 2019.

Applications were received from three prospective proposers: Petroc, Wave Multi-Academy Trust and ACE Schools Multi-Academy Trust (www.devon.gov.uk/planning/planning-policies/pupil- place-planning/new-schools/charlton-lodge).

Local authorities may assess proposals in line with DfE guidance and can recommend their preferred sponsor to the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) who will make the final decision on behalf of the Secretary of State. Cabinet agreed at its meeting on 11 March 2015 that the LA would continue to offer their assessment of proposals to the RSC and the Head of Education and Learning would consult with the Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Skills on the submission.

A detailed assessment of the three bids received was undertaken by officers and assessed by the Head of Education and Learning in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and  Skills. A recommendation was made to the RSC that ACE Schools Multi-Academy Trust was the LA’s preferred sponsor.

Following a meeting of the RSC South West’s Headteacher Board in September 2018, the RSC confirmed that ACE Schools Multi-Academy Trust had been given Secretary of State approval to sponsor the proposed new secondary special free school in Tiverton.

Confirmation of the LA’s preferred sponsor can only be released now that the RSC has publicly announced that the ACE Schools Multi- Academy Trust has been given Secretary of State approval to sponsor the new school.

Summary of Alternatives or Options considered and rejected:

NA

Details of any conflict of interest and dispensation granted to the Officer taking the decision or by any Member of the Council in delegating responsibility for any specific express delegation:

None.

Contact for enquiries/further information: Christine McNeil, School Organisation (Policy) Manager, Room AB2, Lucombe House, County Hall. Email: christine.mcneil@devon.gov.uk
Decision Date: 15 October 2018

A copy of this decision and any supporting documentation considered by the Officer taking this decision may also be made available or inspection by the public at the Council’s Offices or posted upon payment of any copying and postage charges. Any member of the public wishing to take up either of these options is asked to please ring 01392 382888 or email: members.services@devon.gov.uk