BUDGET 2013: Responding to national education reform – discussion in public for budget
A budget for Children's Services in the Bath & North East Somerset Council area which recognises the changing role of local government in education and early years care will be discussed by the Early Years, Children and Youth Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel on 26th November 2012.
The Children's Services financial plan is the final of four reports which set out the organisation's financial position and how services will be provided to children and young people over the next three years. This recognises both the impact of Government reform and reductions in Government funding.
Changing role of the Local Authority
The Government has introduced significant changes to the role of local government in education, early years, and youth. For example, the expansion of the academies programme has removed funding from local to central government. Also, the creation of 'Teaching Schools' will impact upon the Council role in securing school improvement.
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Wider changes to Early Years funding for 2 and 3 year olds, combined with cuts in 'Early Intervention' grants mean that the Council is re-shaping services to focus only upon those with the greatest level of need and who are also most vulnerable. Services will become mostly highly targeted to support the most vulnerable children and young people to prepare for adult life. There are a range of measures we are taking in response to this challenge.
Despite funding pressures the Council is maintaining its commitment to Child Protection Services and Children and Young People in our Care.
Bringing together our Youth Service with Connexions
The Government expects secondary schools to directly provide high quality, impartial careers advice therefore the Council is proposing to end its current Connexions contract with Learning Partnership West.
Our continuing duties in this area which are to our most vulnerable young people will be delivered through a new service which brings together Youth Services and Connexions. The new service will strive for excellence as we concentrate our resources on our most vulnerable young people, particularly those at risk of falling out of education, employment, or training. We will retain a focus also on vulnerable groups and communities and our Youth Centres will continue to play an important role in this work.
Targeting the work of our Early Years and Children's Centre Services
The emphasis on targeting our resources towards vulnerable children and families will also apply to our Children's Centres and Early Years Settings. No Children's Centres closures are planned at this time. They play an important part in the future of our service to vulnerable people and local communities.
These changes are significant and the Council will need to consider a range of options around how services are delivered into the future. The Council has a track record of innovative solutions and will engage with stakeholders in considering all options.
Investing in our future
Key investments will be made in local school buildings to improve the learning environment for children and young people, preparing them for adult life. We plan to invest £4 million in 2013/14.
This will include a new initiative called the School Energy Invest to Save Fund that will provide £500,000 in 2013/14 together with £290,000 from local schools. The Council is currently carrying out energy efficiency assessments in all schools across the area. These will identify projects that will cut energy costs for schools and reduce their carbon footprint, such as more efficient lighting systems or better insulation. The fund will act as a loan for schools to undertake the works that they wouldn't normally be able to fund themselves in one go.
Now have your say…
Any resident or local organisation can have their say about the budget by:
- Giving your view at www.bathnes.gov.uk/budgetview or writing to Resources Team, 3rd Floor, Guildhall, Bath, BA1 5AW;
- Attending the public meeting giving two working days' notice to the Council via Democratic Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01225 394435.
The report can be found here: http://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=461&MId=3670&Ver=4
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