“To save on teaching costs, school heads are increasingly busting the 30-child limit — illegal for pupils under seven” [including Broadclyst]

“Broadclyst school [photograph from article above]in Devon has a specially built classroom where 67 children are taught simultaneously. Though unions say such class sizes are detrimental to learning, the school’s head teacher insists pupils are offered an “excellent education”.

It looks more like a lecture theatre than a primary school classroom. Welcome to Broadclyst Community Primary School in Devon, where year 6 pupils are taught in a class of 67 — sometimes with just one teacher.

A Sunday Times investigation has found that cash-strapped primary schools are packing pupils into giant classes to boost their budgets. A school receives between £3,500 and £5,000 a year for each child. More than 559,000 primary pupils were taught in “super-size classes” averaging more than 30 children last year, compared with 501,000 five years earlier, according to our analysis of official data.

In parts of northwest England — including Oldham, Bury, Trafford and Tameside — a quarter of primary children are being taught in such big classes, as per-pupil funding encourages heads to fill their classrooms.

It is illegal to teach children under the age of seven in classes of more than 30 pupils, but there are no such rules for older children. But we have found that nearly 5% of pupils aged 5-7, roughly 73,000 children, were taught in classes of more than 30 last year. Some heads use just one teacher for occasional classes of more than 60 pupils. Broadclyst has one of the highest average class sizes, 42, and at times teaches 67 older children together in a specially built room.

Teaching unions and experts have always warned that such big class sizes damage children’s education. But this weekend Jonathan Bishop, Broadclyst’s head teacher, defended the policy, insisting that the school, about five miles northeast of Exeter, offered an excellent education, and class size “was not the big factor” in a good-quality education.

The school is rated as “outstanding” by the regulator Ofsted.

Bishop said: “I do not think 30 is a magic number to get better-quality education. It is not class size that dictates the quality of education. Our year 6 classroom has got 67 children in one room. There are times when one teacher teaches those 67 children. Is that wrong? Of course it is not wrong.

“Our year 6 classroom is designed like a lecture theatre: I can seat 67 children in there. I know I will be public enemy No 1 by saying this.”

Experts warned that the UK was moving inexorably towards the giant classes found in parts of Asia.”

Source: Times (pay wall)

DevonLive’s best misleading headline yet! “Cranbrook will get its town centre within years”


NOT the design – just a warning!

The headline appears above an article which suggests that Cranbrook developers will now get away with financing “one multi-use building” (cheap) instead of the larger number of (more expensive) single-use buildings they were supposed to construct!

The part of the article not reproduced is the second half where DCC councillors (including former EDDC Leader Sarah Randall-Johnson) desperately try to pretend this is good news.

“… The multi-purpose building would provide flexible space for children’s, youth, adult and library services with potential use for public health and highways services, as well as space for the town council.

The trigger point for the provision of the children’s centre facilities– 2,000 home occupations – has been met which means the Cranbrook consortium of developers have to construct the children’s centre facilities no later than June 10, 2021.

The existing planning agreement also requires them to provide town council offices in the town centre by June 2021, and youth facilities and a library when the 3,450 home is occupied, currently expected to be in 2025.

Devon County Council’s cabinet on Wednesday morning though unanimously agreed to try and renegotiate the agreement so that the multi-purpose building can be built, and subject to funding, should be complete within the next two years.

It would be built on land that is supposed to be the town centre, but currently remains an empty green space.

Cllr Rufus Gilbert, cabinet member for economy and skills, said that bringing forward the delivery of the library and the youth services would provide the town with the services that it needed. He added negotiations were still ongoing, but he enthusiastically welcomed the move, saying: ”
“The existing agreement is for these key services – the library, youth and a children’s centre facilities – to be built over the next two to six years.

“But as the town is continuing to grow, especially noting the high proportion of families with young children and need for additional support, we must bring them forward.

“We believe that our proposed integrated community facilities building in Cranbrook’s town centre is the best way to provide these required facilities.

“It would allow residents to benefit sooner, and give us greater control over the design and delivery of the facilities.” …”

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/cranbrook-town-centre-within-years-3414376

EDDC: Greater Exeter Strategic Plan update – delayed to at earliest April 2023

Highlights:

The Heart of the South West devolution bid highlights a number of challenges facing the LEP area which planning has a key role in addressing. These are:

 Comparative productivity is 29th out of 39 LEP areas
 An aging workforce and major skills shortages reported
 Our performance remains low on key productivity measures: wages, innovation, inward investment exports and global trade
 Disproportionate growth in our older population is placing unsustainable burdens on our services
 Strategic infrastructure has good coverage, but is incomplete
 Insufficient capacity of the road network and motorway junctions
 Uncompetitive travel times to London and the south east
 Incidents and extreme weather threatens transport resilience
 Housing supply not keeping up with demand
 Threats to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Page 5: revised timetable pushes back a GESP agreement to not earlier than April 2022. HOWEVER, this is almost certainly a spelling error, as on page 11 this is contradicted:

Once adopted it will supersede specified strategic parts of the East Devon Local Plan, Exeter Core Strategy, Exeter Local Plan, Mid Devon Local Plan (once adopted), Teignbridge Local Plan Parts 1 and 2 and any other Development Plan Documents as necessary. The preparation timetable is as follows:
 Site Options and Draft Policies – June 2020
 Draft Plan – November 2020
 Publication (Proposed Submission) – February 2022
 Submission – July 2022
 Examination – September 2022
Adpotion : April 2023
(not April 2022)

Page 8: The Greater Exeter Strategic Plan will cover the local planning authority areas of East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon and Teignbridge (i.e. those Councils’ administrative areas excluding Dartmoor National Park). It will be prepared jointly by those four local planning authorities with the support of Devon County Council under Section 28 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act. It will:

• set an overall vision and strategy for the area in the context of national and other high level policy and in particular climate emergency declarations and the NPPF;
• contain policies and proposals for strategic and cross boundary issues where these are best dealt with at a larger-than-local scale;
• set the overall amount of growth for the period 2020 – 2040;
• promote the Liveable Exeter vision by allocating urban regeneration sites in the city;
• implement the overall vision and strategy by allocating strategic sites of 500 or more
homes which may include urban extensions and new settlements ;
• provide districts’ local plans with targets for non-strategic development

EDDC response to Jurassic National Park: sit back and do nothing

“Resolve to await the Governments response to the recommendations; and note that the Chilterns, the Cotswolds and the Dorset and East Devon AONBs are potential candidates for future designation as National Parks.”

https://democracy.eastdevon.gov.uk//documents/s7143/4Protected%20Landscape%20Report.pdf

AveragecUK earnings increase 2p per hour in two years – top 1% earnings go up £7 per hour in same period

“The top 1% of high earners in the UK have enjoyed a 7.6% real terms pay increase over the last two years, while the average worker’s pay rose by just 2p an hour.

A TUC analysis of government hourly pay data between 2016 and 2018 shows thatpay among the very top earners increased at a faster rate than any other group.

People in the top bracket saw their pay increase by an average of 7.6% from £58.73 in 2016 to £63.18 in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) annual survey of hours and earnings. Over the same period, the real terms pay of average workers rose by just 0.1% or 2p to from £12.71 to £12.73.

The TUC said that average pay in real terms, when adjusted for inflation, was still worth less in real terms than before the financial crisis continuing the biggest squeeze on wages since the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, warned that the gap between the richest and everyone else will continue to widen under the prime minister, Boris Johnson’s planned tax cut for high earners, which will cost the Treasury £9.6bn a year, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

“While millions struggle with Britain’s cost of living crisis, pay for those at top is back in the fast lane,” O’Grady said. “We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest 1%. Boris Johnson’s promised tax giveaway to high earners would only make things worse. The prime minister is focused on helping his wealthy mates and donors, not working people.” …

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/oct/12/average-uk-earners-gained-just-2p-per-hour-in-two-years-tuc-reveals?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Broadclyst – twinned with Mayfair?

Following on from the story below Owl has been flying over Broadclyst.

It has an interesting parish council.

It includes Green Party landowner Henry Gent, whose declaration of interest notes that he has land on option to Persimmon that could net him a nice little earner very soon:

https://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2437152/roi-henry-gent.pdf

Lib Dem District Councillor Sarah Chamberlain.

Lib Dem District Councillor Eleanor Rylance, who plans to stand again against Claire Wright in a general election.

Henry Massey, whose company provides web services to Broadclyst Parish Council:

https://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1353424/roi-henry-j-massey.pdf

(Check those web services out here on the parish’s less than informative and clunky website: https://www.broadclyst.org/

and now new councillors Karl and Liz Straw – where Karl is certainly shaking up the very expensive parish council with some incisive questions!

Interesting features of the parish accounts show:

Of its £422,170 budget £204,320 is being spent on 4.5 FTE employees (including the clerk) PLUS £18,000 on a PART-TIME handyman whose LORRY costs £7,500 PLUS someone being paid £5,000 to maintain public toilets PLUS someone being paid £9000 to run the sports pavilion.

The council also has a bill of £16,550 for office/telephone/internet services, £2500 for staff expenses and £12,500 for PUBLIC RELATIONS. Of this £2050 is telephone charges and £3050 rates.

They love their sport too. £21,000 goes on sports field and tennis court, £12850 on the bowling green (for which they receive £1800 in return from the club.

Of the rest, £18000 goes on “projects” which included £10,000 on “bus shelters”, £12,000 goes on youth work and a whopping £34,320 is set aside for the eighbourhood plan.

Income is £2000 from the parish magazine, £1413 from DCC towards parish maintenance and £500 from allotments and that £1800 from the bowling club.

If Owl were a councillor there, it would DEFINITELY be asking some very awkward questions! And many of them!

[Broadclyst] “Parish council with £2,500 in reserves for grass seed will not reduce council tax after bid to cap it fails”

“Broadclyst parish councillor Karl Straw saw his motion to reduce the authority’s precept from £233.83 to no more than £160 per Band D household, be rejected by six votes to two.

Parish council chairman Henry Massey said the authority could not vote to ‘arbitrarily’ slash its precept by one-third, as it would immediately see funding dry up for some services.

Cllr Massey said the population of Broadclyst has increased from 1,000 people to 8,000 people in the last ten years, and the parish council provides services other parish authorities do not.

The vote, taken at Victory Hall on October 7, means Broadclyst remains the fourth most expensive non-unitary parish in the country, and the second most expensive precepting parish in Devon.

Cranbrook is the most expensive precepting parish, due to the maintenance bill for its country park.

Cllr Straw said Broadclyst Parish Council’s precept has ballooned by more than 66 per cent in the last five years.

He said: “Broadclyst pays on average £233.83 against the Devon average of £42.20.

“Seaton pays £101.60, Axminster pays £88.64, Sidmouth pays £72.36, Honiton pays £71.08, Exmouth pays £60, and Ottery pays £49.03

“The average East Devon parish charge is £46.55 and in Devon the parishes charge on average is £42.20.

“My motion was to reduce the precept by at least £75 in 2020/21 and to introduce a policy of continued reductions until the parish as charging no more than the average across Devon.”

Broadclyst Parish Council currently has £2,500 reserved for grass seeds for its bowling green.

However, Cllr Massey said nothing has been spent on grass seeds this year, and the figure would only be spent in full in a worst-case scenario.

Cllr Massey said Broadclyst has grown significantly from a ‘relatively small size’ since 2009.

He said: “We have to balance the needs of the people and groups who use the village as well as at the same time ensuring that we are giving good value for money.

“We provide a huge number of services for a parish council and, due to cutbacks in district and county council, have taken on additional services that otherwise would not be provided.”

Cllr Massey said the council welcomes the input made from Cllr Straw and will be carefully examining its budget in the next two months.

Cllr Straw said he is planning to request the council set up a people’s forum, which will invite residents to discuss what precept they would like to see the authority operate with.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/broadclyst-precept-motion-outcome-1-6318881