Green light for Kingston Education Commission

Plans to establish an independent education commission for Kingston gathered pace this week after Kingston Council members unanimously backed the proposal.

The calls for an independent education commission respond to concerns about the growing deficit on the schools budget, which is expected to reach £12 million by the end of this financial year.

Kingston Council Chief Executive, Charlie Adan, explains:

“We are not alone in experiencing this financial pressure. Most councils are reporting overspends but our position is more extreme than others and requires decisive action.

“Kingston has experienced a sharp rise in the number of children with special educational needs; and like other authorities, has also had to pick up the cost of new responsibilities introduced under the Children and Families Act 2014.

“The purpose of the independent commission is to engage all stakeholders across Kingston to explore why we’re in this financial position and what we can do about it.

“The idea is to work with all those who have part to play in bringing our spend back in line with the money available.

“An independent commission will help us balance the interests of all stakeholders and ensure we’re achieving the best possible outcomes, for all children and young people in Kingston, within the confines of what is affordable.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Davis, added:

“We need to achieve a consensus across all stakeholders about the way forward for Kingston, particularly in relation to the future of special educational needs.

“An independent education commission will help us establish a set of shared values and the framework needed to keep us operating within the resources allocated to us by government.”

The terms of reference for the Kingston Education Commission and the process for selecting an independent chair are being finalised.