Minutes of Annual Parish Meeting 2017
MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL PARISH MEETING,
HELD IN THE WELLS PAVILION
ON THURSDAY, 27st APRIL 2017, AT 7.30 P.M.
Chairman: Mr. Gavin Strathern Clerk: Mrs. Jane Potter
The meeting was also attended by:
Mr. Nigel Arthur, Mr. Colin Ash, Mr. Brian Oliver, Mr. Steven Potter, Mr. Graham Rayner (Parish Councillors)
Mr. Bernard Steeples (Chairman, Purleigh Playing Field Association)
Mr. Neil Stotter (Head of School, Purleigh Community Primary School)
and 12 members of the public.
Apologies were received from: Mr. Steven Bardwell (Parish Councillor), Mr. John Archer and Miss Sue White (District Council Ward Members), Mrs. Penny Channer (County Council Ward Member), Mrs. Mary Strathern (Chairman, Purleigh Village Hall Committee) and Mr. Joe Figg (Executive Head Teacher, Purleigh Community Primary School and CEO of the Eveleigh LINK Trust) who were unable to attend the meeting due to prior civic, personal and professional commitments.
The Chairman extended a very warm welcome to everyone present and thanked them for attending the meeting.
The Minutes of the Annual Parish Meeting held on 21st April 2016, which had been approved at the Parish Council meeting held on 13th May 2016 (Minute 10/05/16) were distributed amongst those present. There were no matters arising from the Minutes to discuss.
Reports were then given by representatives of the following organisations regarding their organisations’ activities during the past year.
PURLEIGH PARISH COUNCIL
The Chairman commenced by reporting that the Parish Council had held twelve ordinary meetings during the year at which Councillors had made 66 attendances out of a possible 84. One Councillor had attended every meeting and the Parish Council’s thanks went again to Purleigh’s District Council Ward Members, John Archer and Sue White and to its County Council Ward Member, Penny Channer for attending the public sessions held before each meeting, listening to Members’ concerns and for keeping the Parish Council informed about the work of the District and County Councils. The Parish Council had also hosted a meeting of the Dengie Hundred Group of Parish Councils on 21st September which had been well attended and had brought together Councillors from across the area to discuss matters of common concern.
The Chairman informed the meeting that during the year the Parish Council had commented on 54 planning applications and responded to consultation papers about diversions to the routes of Footpaths 4, 7 and 49, the removal of public payphones, the local bus network and on the future of local government finance.
The total amount of money the Parish Council had required from Maldon District Council for the year ending 31st March 2017 had been £32,500.
During the year the Parish Council had continued to provide and maintain the pavilion and playing field for the benefit of parishioners, its focus this year being to repair the outside of the pavilion and to improve drainage on the playing field.
The Chairman reported that income from letting the pavilion during the year had amounted to £5,246.62 but the Parish Council had spent £9,771.75 maintaining the facilities, spending £5,235 of that on repairs to the outside of the building and the verandah. The Parish Council had also replaced some of the fire extinguishers in the kitchen, installed a new shower and cleared out the playing field ditch which Members hoped would create better drainage and therefore improve the playing surface for the football, cricket and croquet clubs. The Parish Council had also had to deal with some serious vandalism which had resulted in the temporary closure of the children’s play area. The tyre traverse and monkey ladder had been set alight and the cost of replacing the equipment with new and replacing the damaged safety surface beneath it would be over £10,000. Cameras and lights in the car park had also been vandalised. During the year the Parish Council had carried out a risk assessment of the First Aid provision in the pavilion and as a result had bought a new First Aid Kit and improved signage in the building.
During the year the Parish Council had continued to pay Maldon District Council’s Ranger Service to enforce the parking restrictions in Pump Lane. The Rangers had been very successful in issuing fixed penalty notices and in talking to parents and visitors to the school about safe parking. To assist them the Parish Council had also bought some ‘A’ frame road safety signs at a cost of over £100 warning of the dangers of parking on the double yellow lines in Pump Lane, which it had donated to the school, whose staff were best placed to deploy them in the most appropriate places.
The Parish Council had continued to liaise with Essex County Council over highway issues in the parish and, as usual, flooding, speeding traffic and overdue maintenance had featured heavily in correspondence. In the interests of public safety the Parish Council had also been pleased to support parishioners’ proposals to introduce some parking restrictions in The Street near The Bell.
A highlight of the year had been being able to grant Brian Oliver the first ever honorary Freedom of the Parish of Purleigh in recognition of his contribution to the Parish over his 40 year period of continuous service on Purleigh Parish Council between 1976 and 2016.
When making the presentation, Members had reflected on Brian’s skilful chairmanship; determination in the face of difficulty; sense of humour and on those many occasions when his contributions had been invaluable. Brian had a very keen intellect and his interventions at Council were always useful and frequently decisive.
The Chairman reported that during the year the Parish Council had awarded grants and donations to POPHA to pay for their subscription to a Community Transport organisation which took older parishioners out to lunch throughout the year; to Brian Mellor towards a community defibrillator; to Purleigh Cricket Club who were restructuring; to Purleigh School to subsidise the cost of swimming lessons for children on roll in the parish; to the RNLI, Essex Air Ambulance, Farleigh Hospice and to the Maldon & District Citizens Advice towards their outreach service which had helped 71 Purleigh residents last year. The Parish Council had also donated £40 to the British Legion for a wreath which Mr. Ash had laid at the War Memorial on behalf of the Parish Council on Remembrance Sunday.
It was also gratifying for the Chairman to report that the Purleigh team comprising Graham and Tracy Rayner, the Clerk and Steven Potter, even though one of the smallest teams competing, brought back the John Mardon trophy to Purleigh, having competed in the Dengie Hundred Group of Parish Councils annual quiz. The trophy had been expertly crafted in Oak in the form of an acorn gavel and substantial base, with brass oak leaves engraved with the names of each year’s winning team by John Mardon, a former long serving Parish Councillor and resident of Cock Clarks, so it was nice to have it back in the parish.
The Chairman advised the meeting that the Parish Council would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. and Mrs. Challis for continuing to maintain the War Memorial garden with such care, Jim Ovel for all his work in the parish, Mrs. Dilworth for her work at the pavilion and the clerk for continuing to efficiently administer the work of the council.
Finally, it was the Chairman’s annual duty to report that the council had one employee, white, British who had received training during the year. The Parish Council was not able to detect any pattern of inequality arising from this data.
Mr. Steeples commented that parents were ignoring the road safety signs outside the school and all the other parking restrictions. He informed the meeting that parents frequently parked on the double yellow and zig-zag lines and observed that the Rangers hadn’t been out to Purleigh recently. Mr. Steeples asked Mr. Stotter if the school had any plans to arrange any transport to replace the school bus which was being withdrawn and which used to bring pupils to school from North Fambridge. Mr. Stotter explained that whilst the school did not have any plans to replace the North Fambridge bus, the school did its best to educate parents about safe and considerate parking and that the vast majority of parents did park lawfully and with respect for nearby residents and other road users. He agreed with Mr. Steeples that the Rangers hadn’t been out to Purleigh as much as last year which was a pity since when they were in attendance they did make a difference. The Chairman explained that this was because the Rangers had exceeded the Parish Council’s budget in the preceding financial year so had reduced their hours last year to make up for it. He reassured the meeting that the Rangers would be more in evidence this year. The meeting agreed that there was plenty of parking at the Village hall, but it was under used, as some parents preferred to park as close to the school as possible.
Mr. Stotter explained that the school currently had 210 pupils on roll and that this was not likely to change.
In response to a question from the floor about the Children’s Play Area, the Clerk explained that the Parish Council had accepted a quotation from Playscene to replace the damaged equipment and safety surface with new, so work should start very soon. The meeting was also informed about the formation of the Purleigh Community Fund, a group of parents who were hoping to raise funds to improve the play area further and for other projects of benefit to the parish. The Clerk pointed out that the design for the new play equipment was on display at the meeting.
MALDON DISTRICT COUNCIL (Ward Members’ Reports)
In the absence of District Councillors John Archer and Sue White, no report was given.
ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL
In the absence of Mrs. Penny Channer (County Council Ward Member) the Chairman read the following summary of a report forwarded by Cllr. Channer about the work of Essex County Council during the year.
Local Government finances continued to be constrained.
The Revenue Support Grant had been reduced again with the funding from Government through the Revenue Support Grant being reduced by £44 million in 2017/2018. The Revenue Support Grant would be phased out completely by 2020 and be replaced by business rate retention. At the same time demand for services continued to grow.
The Council anticipated saving £106 million by the end of 2017/2018, in addition to the £597 million saved over the last seven years. The Council, even though making savings, had kept Council Tax as low as possible to assist all residents, whilst at the same time investing wisely in front line services.
It had been agreed at the relatively recent budget meeting of the County Council not to increase the Core Council Tax at all. In Essex the County Council currently spent over £1.4 million a day on adult social care alone however and over the next 12 years the number of people over 85 needing social care was expected to grow by 50 per cent.
The Government had again given councils the power to add a ‘Social Care Levy’ onto Council Tax bills. Bearing this in mind the County Council had decided to implement the 3% Social Care Levy which would raise an extra £17 million that could be used to support the most vulnerable in society. This meant that a resident living in an average Band ‘D’ property would pay 65 pence more each week in council tax or £34 a year in total for 2017/2018, but it also meant that the County Council would be able to continue to support those who needed it most.
Despite the reduction in funding from central government, the budget agreed by Essex County Council would allow spending of:
£524 million on adult social care
£127 million on children and families
£668 million on education and lifelong learning
£233 million on highways, infrastructure and public transport and
£92 million on health
The budget also allowed the authority to invest to deliver four priorities for Essex.
The four priorities were: Economic growth; Enabling people to live as independently as possible; Helping to create great places to live and work and Ensuring sustainable public services.
Throughout the year the Council had continued to be proactive to help create the conditions for an even stronger economy in Essex. The Council had previously indicated it wanted to boost the Essex economy from £33 billion to £60 billion by 2025 as it recognised that economic growth was key to creating a prosperous and healthy county.
Essex County Council had agreed it would continue to invest in more new school places. The Council was investing £7 million of capital in two innovation centres: Harlow MedTech and the University of Essex Innovation Centre in Colchester, which were aimed at supporting small and medium size businesses to grow and develop, providing flexible space and access to technology, and in further education colleges which would deliver skill centres focussed on the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths.
The authority had invested in, and continued to invest significantly into roads and transport infrastructure to ease congestion and help people commute and travel across the county. Work would begin to deliver improved slip roads on the A120 in Braintree, a new railway station in Chelmsford and improvements to the M11 at junction eight.
Due to investment over the last year and the two before that, the 5,000 mile road network was now among the best maintained in the whole country, and in the coming year the authority would invest over £108 million in footpaths, bridges and local roads.
Blocked drains on the highway had been tackled with a dedicated £250,000 investment from Essex County Council. The money had paid for an additional gully cleansing machine to target flooding issues caused by blockages in highway gullies.
Following previous improvements to Essex’s main roads, from July until the end of December 2016 additional funding had been provided to repair potholes on local roads. Pothole numbers on these local roads throughout Essex had dropped from 4,954 to 3,961 during this period, despite the extra problems caused by worsening weather conditions. This had complemented the long-term approach to improving Essex roads which had seen a record 3.24 million square metres of road surface dressing last summer alone.
Work to facilitate the opening of new third lanes in both directions along the A130 between Howe Green and the Rettendon Turnpike had also been taking place. The additional lanes had been completed but remained coned off after a routine inspection had highlighted issues with crash barriers along the route. Further investigation work over recent months had revealed a need to reconstruct the ground alongside the carriageway as a preventative measure to protect against the risk of slippage in the long-term.
Investment in new homes last year would continue into 2017/2018, working with partners to increase the flow of affordable housing.
The authority was determined that the elderly and most vulnerable in Essex were supported so that they could live independently for as long as possible and could access care and support if they needed it. Social Care had been one of the areas of greatest spending for the authority and in 2017/2018 the Council would be spending £524 million on adult social care.
The children’s social care teams had continued their good work with children and families throughout the year, and the number of children in care had been reduced to just 1,000, whereas almost every other area in the country had seen the number of children in care increase. For the second time in the last few years, an Essex social worker had won the national social worker of the year award.
The Council had continued to invest in infrastructure to make Essex communities good places to live and work, but recognised the importance of localism and was committed to giving local communities a greater role. At the budget meeting it had therefore been announced that two new initiatives would be launched later in 2017/2018: The Supporting Communities Fund and Essex Lottery. The Council would be committing £1million via the new Supporting Communities Fund to support two distinct types of local scheme: Local services to improve local places, and local action which would support community led activities that built social capital and local connections. The Essex Lottery would provide funding to community projects that already existed.
The fourth priority was to deliver public services that were not only high quality, but were sustainable well into the future. Joining up public services to be in a position to respond strategically to the challenges they faced was key and the authority had been working with partners to agree a vision for what the County needed to look like, so that in an increasingly competitive world Essex could speak with one voice and punch above its weight where it really mattered.
Essex County Council’s library service was a shining example of this. By turning libraries into community hubs the County Council had brought together services across local government, health and the Police to provide a seamless service, tailored to local needs.
Ten thousand energy-saving LED streetlights had been installed across the county. These were the first phase of the £9.2 million programme to replace 19,000 conventional lights with LEDs on main roads and junctions in Essex. The LED programme was on schedule and would save taxpayers £600,000 a year on energy, maintenance and carbon tax costs.
The number of streetlights across Essex not working on 31 March 2017 was 3,726 or 2.93 percent of over 127,000 streetlights, a 15 percent reduction since January. A number of these broken streetlights were waiting to be replaced with LED lights, as the programme rolled out across the county.
A £1.5 million funding pot the County Council had set aside for community projects across the county had attracted over 175 bids from community groups, sports clubs, youth groups, parish councils and charitable organisations.
The Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) enabled local communities to bid for up to £20,000 to turn their community project dreams into reality. Dedicated selection panels comprising representatives from parish and town councils, the local Community Voluntary Service and other voluntary and charitable organisations met to consider each application received for their locality. The County Council had invested almost £20 million over the past decade into a range of projects that sought to protect or improve the social, environmental or economic well-being of local areas.
A new Wi-Fi scheme had been launched to enable local communities to be able to access a public Wi-Fi service in community buildings or 'hubs'. It was a new scheme under the Superfast Essex broadband improvement programme. Under the scheme, village halls, community centres and other hubs could buy a broadband service from two approved suppliers, APC Solutions or County Broadband. Initial set up costs would be supported by the Community Initiatives Fund. Up to £400 could be claimed per community hub by completing a short online form similar to the general CIF application process but community hubs would subsequently need to pay a monthly service charge.
Park and Ride buses to Broomfield Hospital were set to become more frequent as part of a new agreement. The new service had begun on 5th December 2016 and was operated by Essex County Council’s own in-house minibus fleet “Community Link”. The new buses ran every 23 minutes and were fully accessible with specifically trained staff and specialist equipment for any users who required assistance boarding and alighting from the vehicles safely.
The Council’s £27.7 million Independent Living Programme, its innovative approach to housing and care for older people, had been hailed in Parliament as an example for other local authorities to follow and was proving a hit with Essex residents too. Independent Living was attractive, self-contained housing with 24 hour care and on-site support. Around 2,000 Essex residents would benefit from investment in the programme between now and 2021.
Following an announcement of £50 million of funding for new homelessness prevention schemes nationwide, Essex had been one of 28 local authorities chosen to become one of the Government’s network of homelessness prevention ‘trailblazers’. The far reaching and ambitious homelessness prevention project, the first collaborative effort of its kind in Essex, had secured £890,000 of funding and could have a massive impact on how homelessness was tackled in the county, helping people before they lost their homes. Although direct responsibility for homelessness lay with district councils, Essex County Council had bid for the funding to ensure a countywide approach would be taken to homelessness, helping those most in need.
Essex County Council’s broadband mascot Super Sam had travelled across the county during 2016 to highlight the benefits of superfast broadband and the work undertaken by Superfast Essex to rollout superfast speeds of 24Mbps and above. This had led to a significant increase in the take up of superfast services which would help to bring more investment back into extending the programme. Reinvestment of over £1.9 million was already being used to enable even more homes and businesses with superfast connection. So far over 75,000 homes and businesses had been enabled with superfast broadband with the programme running three months ahead of schedule. More information could be found on the Superfast Essex Web Site.
Essex schools had rounded off a fantastic year for education in the county after statistics had confirmed that the percentage of Key Stage 2 pupils achieving the Government’s new expected standard was above the national average.
The annual primary school performance tables, published by the Department for Education had showed that 76 per cent of 11 year-olds in the county had achieved at least the expected standard in writing in 2016, above the England average of 74 per cent. In maths, 71 per cent had achieved the expected standard, compared with 70 per cent nationally and in reading, 67 per cent of Essex pupils had achieved the expected standard, again higher than the national average of 66 per cent.
More than half of Essex pupils (56 per cent) had achieved at least the expected standard in the combined reading, writing and maths measure, compared with an England average of 53 per cent.
The statistics were just the latest cause for celebration for Essex schools and had come after Ofsted’s Annual Report had showed that the county was enjoying its best ever educational performance. According to the report, which had been based on inspection data up to the end of August, 95 per cent of secondary school pupils and 91 per cent of primary school pupils attended schools rated as good or outstanding.
About 100 new foster families would be needed across Essex in 2017, with the impending arrival of more unaccompanied asylum seeking children expected to increase the demand for placements. Essex County Council’s foster carers provided loving and safe homes for hundreds of children each year, but with a number retiring and demand continuing to be high, many more were still needed. To find out more about fostering prospective carers were encouraged to visit the Essex Adoption and Fostering website.
Essex County Council had worked with boroughs, districts and care providers to ask residents to consider working in the care sector to help fill the high number of vacancies and improve the lives of elderly and vulnerable people. Job fairs held in Maldon, Braintree, Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Clacton had given job seekers the chance to meet local employers and find out about current vacancies and the rewards of caring for others. To help employers, Essex County Council would cover the costs of DBS (criminal records) checks on all new recruits employed through the campaign and had funded the jobs fairs and promotion.
More than 15,000 parents in Essex had discovered the outcome of their secondary school applications on 1st March. Although the county continued to grow, the County Council’s investment in creating new school places had resulted in an all-time high of 87.58 per cent of pupils being offered their parents’ first preference of school, a 1.6 per cent increase on last year. A further 6.78 per cent had been offered their second preference, meaning 94.36 per cent had been offered either their first or second preference.
In addition, a record 89.37 per cent of children who were due to start Reception in September had been offered their parents’ first preference, up from 87.40 per cent last year, and a further 6.23 per cent had been offered their second preference, meaning an all-time high of 95.60 per cent had been offered one of their top two choices, compared with 94.08 per cent in 2016.
Having already spent millions of pounds creating more than 5,500 new school places during the last two academic years, a further 2,200 more were due to be available from September. The County Council had also allocated £230 million to create about 13,000 more mainstream school places in Essex by September 2019.
For the third year in a row the number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) had fallen in Essex; now just 2.6% of 16 and 17 year olds were not working or learning. The Essex Employability and Skills Unit had also seen huge success in tracking and making contact with young people in need of advice, reducing the number of 16 and 17 year olds identified as NEET, and not receiving advice, from 4.1% in 2013/2014 to just 1.7% this year. In the last five years the team had helped in excess of 6,899 young people get into education, training and employment. This success was estimated to save taxpayers over £900 million in the long term.
The share of people of working age in employment in Essex was higher at 76.4% than the UK’s 73.5% average, a key point raised in the Essex Economic Commission’s independent report published last month.
A series of exciting events had helped ambitious young people kick start their careers as part of Apprenticeship Week held in March. The events had given prospective apprentices the chance to explore opportunities with Essex businesses at job fairs; creating better links between Essex employers and the county’s secondary schools and a huge apprenticeship event had also taken place at Anglia Ruskin University.
Essex County Council’s Adult Community Learning service had already helped thousands of young people get their foot on the first rung of the career ladder by taking advantage of the opportunities an apprenticeship presented. Last year more than 11,000 people in Essex had started an apprenticeship.
The Smart Essex Digital summit, held at the BT Tower, had brought together leading technology partners to investigate how a digital strategy could improve people’s lives, reshape and streamline public services and drive prosperity. When polled at the event, digital leaders had stated that health and social care providers could see the biggest benefit from public sector digital services. 61% of the attendees had strongly agreed that public services could successfully embrace digital to redesign the way they met the needs of businesses and residents. When asked how the public sector would benefit most from streamlining services with digital technology 45% had responded that it would help prepare for the future while 23% had said by achieving cost savings followed by reducing administration (17%) and by enabling data capture (15%). Over two-thirds of the attendees (71%) had agreed that the biggest difference that digital could make to the services that councils provided was to help people live independently, followed by supporting business. To prepare for the challenges of the future, the County Council had to ensure that digital played a central role in the way it delivered public services.
PURLEIGH COMMUNINTY PRIMARY SCHOOL
Mr. Stotter commenced his report by explaining that Mr. Figg couldn’t be present as he was tied up with his work for Ofsted but he had sent his apologies to the meeting. Mr. Stotter informed the meeting that it had been another great year for the school and he thanked the whole community for the part they played in the school’s day to day life. Purleigh School thrived as part of a lively, caring and pro-active community. The positive ethos in the village continued to inspire staff and pupils who were happy to have community at their heart as well as being at the heart of the community. This type of partnership working was simply awe inspiring.
School pupil numbers were at capacity and this year had received over seventy applications for just thirty places in the reception class for September 2017 which highlighted the school’s popularity. The school was physically unable to expand, but was happy as ever to be able to support the wide variety of families that applied for their children to attend the school and come through the Purleigh School system. Purleigh School took children of all abilities and school attendance was 97.2% which was excellent.
Mr. Stotter reported that school projects continued to go ahead. Some key maintenance projects that involved the replacement of electrical main boards and wiring, as well as projects that would enhance the site’s security would be funded by a large improvement grant that the school had won and would share with other schools in the Multi Academy Trust. In response to a question from the floor, Mr. Stotter explained that being part of a Multi Academy Trust had led to more competitive tendering and had given the school greater flexibility to obtain goods and services from private contractors rather than being tied to the Local Education Authority’s suppliers.
Mr. Stotter explained that there continued to be many changes in education. In the past couple of years, the school had implemented a new curriculum which had introduced a different and more difficult standard of literacy, spellings, punctuation and grammar (SPAG). The numeracy curriculum placed an emphasis on arithmetic and reasoning and involved more work with fractions and decimals. Testing had also changed and a more difficult to achieve standardised scoring system had been adopted.
School data was as follows: Attainment and achievement at Key Stage 1 was above national averages in reading, writing and mathematics. Attainment had remained consistently high at Key Stage 1 over the past four years and Key Stage 1 phonics screening had been higher than, or in line with, national averages for the previous three years with 90% achieved in 2016.
At key Stage 2, Age Related Expectation and higher (ARE+) in 2016 was higher than national averages and in some cases significantly so. Purleigh school children had made high expected or better progress for English and Mathematics for four out of the previous six years with two years at 96%. Attainment had been consistently above national averages over the past four years. In 2016 the results were Reading 77%; Writing 81% and SPAG 87% with Mathematics in line with national data. These results were pleasing, but as ever the school couldn’t rest on its laurels and looked to improve its outcomes and used its Development Plan to find ways to optimise learning for each cohort.
As well as in the core areas of the curriculum, the school continued to give all its children interesting and enriching topics as experiences. These had a broad representation of curriculum subjects at their heart. The children had found out about farms, castles, the Egyptians, the Great Fire of London, rain forests, Harry Potter, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Midsummer Night’s Dream, espionage, the nations of the United Kingdom, a wide variety of sports, art, technology, computing, religious themes and many other wonderful ideas. Whilst learning the children had been able to take part in a wide variety of performances and respond to these with enthusiasm, displaying fabulous learning attitudes and behaviours. British values remained core.
Purleigh had been pro-active and had gone from strength to strength as a school within a local Multi Academy Trust. Within the Trust the school had started as a sponsoring or lead school for a school that wasn’t performing as well as Purleigh. This school had now completed their second Ofsted inspection and had achieved the good grading with outstanding features. Other schools had also joined the Trust, called the Eveleigh LINK Academy Trust. These included a brand new school that Purleigh had supported in Chelmsford, another school in a good category in Maylandsea and a school which was in a category for support. The schools that had joined the Trust were local, which helped logistically, as well as ensuring that staff could relate to and understand the school’s context.
At Purleigh School, staff believed that the model of creating a Multi Academy Trust and working in partnership with one or possibly more schools gave the school, its children and staff, a brighter future rather than remaining with the status quo. There were great opportunities to share resources, to be able to use economy of scale to make purchases and also to share leadership and teaching expertise. The pool of teaching excellence across all of its systems allowed Purleigh to run joint staff and curriculum team meetings. The school was also able to share leadership skills by deploying key staff to other schools and Purleigh benefitted from this as well, as key staff from other schools were also able to share their ideas in ways that were beneficial to the school.
Mr. Stotter concluded by saying how much the school was looking forward to the coming academic year and all its fun and challenges.
In response to a question from the floor Mr. Stotter explained that the school did support parents and children through the 11+ process and an 11+ club had been established to facilitate this. He also confirmed that the school kept track of its former pupils in a variety of ways.
PURLEIGH EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Mr. Steven Potter (Trustee) reported that he trustees had met on the 24th February 2017 and that the investments had produced an income of £299 last year.
From this the trustees had given grants of £45 to Purleigh School and £50 each to The Genesis Group, The Sunday School and The Small Saints, and a book token valued at £100 to a university student.
The remaining £4 had been reinvested as capital.
PURLEIGH VILLAGE HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
In the absence of Mrs. Mary Strathern (Chairman, Purleigh Village Hall Management Committee) no report was given.
Mr. Potter reminded the meeting however that Purleigh Art Show was taking place between Friday, 28th April and Sunday, 30th April to raise funds to support the Village Hall.
PURLEIGH PLAYING FIELD ASSOCIATION (PPFA)
Mr. Steeples (Chairman, PPFA) commenced by reporting that it was difficult to comprehend but it had been two years since Mick Elliott, a former committee member, Parish Councillor and stalwart of the community had died. His widow Karen had been incredible in the way she had helped at and encouraged many community activities and initiatives since Mick’s death including catering for coffee mornings, and engaging with older residents who may otherwise have become isolated and withdrawn. The meeting recognised and applauded Karen’s contribution in extremely difficult circumstances.
Mr Steeples informed the meeting that the PPFA continued with a successful and committed executive committee and thanked Leonie Back for her work as Secretary and Nick Back for fulfilling the role of Treasurer so ably. The Committee would be very sorry to lose John Bendall who was moving but appreciated his considerable contribution to the organisation. The PPFA shared the Parish Council’s anger and dismay about the vandalism in the Children’s Play Area but hoped that the new CCTV the Parish Council intended to install at the Pavilion would deter the vandals.
Further improvements to the pond were planned.
Mr. Steeples reported that the Cricket Club was restructuring and wished players every success in their new format, the table tennis club continued to flourish and were enjoying the use of two new tables and the U3A Aviation Group was an enjoyable and successful club.
In his other role as Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator for Purleigh, Mr. Steeples reported that the lack of Community Police Officers on the beat was extremely regrettable which may contribute to increased incidences of rural crime. Only recently there had been a serious burglary in Slough Lane.
Mr. Steeples concluded his report by thanking the Clerk for her input.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
In response to a question from the floor about responsibility for the former Telephone Exchange, the Chairman explained that it was in private ownership but that if there were concerns about rats or other environmental hazards, parishioners should ask District Council environmental health officers to investigate. The meeting was informed that in 1994 when Callowood Croft was being built, the District Council had been given the opportunity to purchase the site for £7,000 but had declined to do so.
Refreshments were then served.
The Clerk and Mrs. Pauline Potter were thanked for providing and serving the refreshments.