Issue #2 2022 //

Labour local aims to make the activity of the Labour members of Surrey county council accessible to our residents. As such, updates will be included in every issue!

Currently there are two incumbents. The first, Robert Evans, represents Stanwell and Stanwell Moor and is the current leader of the Labour group on the council. Mr Evans has been a councillor since 2013, winning re-election twice since. He serves on the Adults and Health select committee. The second, Robert King, represents Egham, and is relatively newer, winning his seat in 2021. Mr King serves on the Resources and Performance select committee. He also serves as a councillor and leader of the Labour and Co-operative group on Runnymede Borough Council.

See their questions to Surrey County Council below…

Robert King Labour and Co-operative councillor for Egham
Labour and Co-operative councillor for Egham
Robert Evans Labour councillor for Stanwell and Stanwell Moor (Group Leader)
Labour councillor for Stanwell and Stanwell Moor (Group Leader)

ROBERT KING (EGHAM) – Labour & Co-Operative:

“The ONS reported in June the UK’s CPI inflation rate hit a forty year high of 9.1%, with food retailers warning of up to 20% rises in meat, cereal, dairy, fruit and vegetable products. Government funding for free school meals however this year has risen by only 7 pence to £2.41 per meal per pupil, or 3%, for pupil in infant schools. Will Surrey be accepting the inevitable, that the meals children receive will shrink or fall in quality because of this funding gap from central Government, or is there a plan to bridge the gap for all schools, maintained and academies regardless of statutory responsible, to ensure the 1/5 pupils who rely on these meals, like in my own division of Egham, do not go hungry or see lower grade and lower quality meals on their plates?”


“The Department for Education (DfE) funds universal infant free meals (years R,1 and 2) at £2.41 per meal in 2022/23 and funds free meals for other eligible mainstream pupils through the National Funding Formula at £2.61 per day. Funding for provision of free school meals must legally be delegated to schools (maintained or academies) and therefore, Surrey County Council funds schools at the national rate. As the cost of free school meals is a delegated cost the Council is unable to provide funds outside the delegated formula.

Surrey County Council has its own traded catering offer to schools Twelve15 –Kitchens | Surrey Education Services ( that schools may choose to use to provide free school meals. Twelve15 is working with their suppliers to ensure that they continue to source and receive the ingredients needed to provide children with a healthy, nutritional meal at a cost that matches the available funding. It is not Twelve15’s intention to reduce portion sizes or the quality of the meal provided. The choice of caterer is up to the school, we cannot comment on the provision from other suppliers, and they may not take the same approach.

We will work closely with Twelve15 to monitor the impact of cost and inflation on their service and revise financial forecasts of the impact on this year’s budget, bringing proposals for re-basing budgets where necessary. Inflationary pressures within both the revenue and capital budget will be closely monitored throughout the financial year and updates on impacts and required mitigations will be included in future budget monitoring reports to Cabinet.”

BECKY RUSH (WARLINGHAM) – Deputy leader and Cabinet member for Finance and Resources 


“The early findings of the 2021 national census show that since the last survey the population of Surrey has risen to 1.203 million, an increase of over 70,000 in ten years. What are the comparative figures for the county’s budget over the same period?”


“Surrey’s population has increased by 6% over the 10-year period. In comparison the Council’s revenue budget, excluding schools, has increased by c5% over the same 10-year period, comparing the 2011/12 revenue budget to the 2021/22 budget. The Council budget has broadly kept pace with population growth, however demand for our services is not directly proportional to the growth in population and there is not a straight-line correlation between these two data sets.”

MATT FURNISS (SHALFORD)- Cabinet member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth

ROBERT KING (EGHAM)- Labour and Co-operative

(2nd Question)

Can the Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Economy give me an update on the request I made to officers over nine months ago to review the mandatory divisions route for HGV traffic from the M25 within my division of Egham? Whether officers made him aware of my request to review the suitability to divert M25 HGV traffic left rather than right at Kerry Foods roundabout, on Thorpe Lea Road, to avoid Pooley Green and to renew a request for Highways England traffic officers to improve partnership working with Surrey Police to actively monitor traffic along routes on night-time closures?”


“Along with several other M25 closure diversion routes, officers continue to engage with National Highways colleagues to agree improvements to routes and draw up are vised document for M25 ‘DRUEs’ (Diversion routes for unplanned events).I am pleased to update that an informal agreement has now been reached to make the change proposed, and revised documentation is being drawn up by National Highways colleagues for official sign off on the changes. Whilst both National Highways and Police resources remain scarce to actively monitor these routes when in use, the Council’s officers have now negotiated the deployment of portable Vehicle Activated Signs by National Highways onto the diversion routes, which register the speed and record the volume of passing vehicles, warning drivers when exceeding the speed limit. The data downloaded from these devices post deployment provides officers with data to better inform future discussions on use of the routes and potential mitigations.

In addition, the Council’s officers continue to robustly challenge the need for full closures of the motorway for planned activities, often seeking alternate Traffic Management Provision on the motorway to prevent un-necessary use of the diversion routes. It should be noted however that the nature of some activities/repairs requires a full motorway closure to ensure the safety of both the travelling public and the workforce.”

DENISE TURNER-STEWART (Staines South and Ashford West)- Cabinet member for Education and Learning


(2nd Question)

“The Surrey Advertiser reported recently that ‘nearly 10,000 Surrey primary school children are being taught in classes of over 30’. Does Surrey County Council have the figures, for each Borough and District? Bearing in mind the Government has provided capital funding and other initiatives to support local authorities, why has this situation occurred and what is Surrey County Council doing about it?”


“School class sizes remain stable in Surrey. The data for 2021/22 is broadly in line with the pre-pandemic figures of 2019/20. Overall, the average class sizes for infant and junior aged pupils have reduced slightly since 2019/20, as has the number of classes with over 30 pupils in, both at Key Stage 1 (reception and infant) and at Key Stage 2 (junior). Class size rules only apply to pupils in reception and Key Stage 1. In January 2022, there were 41 classes with over 30 pupils, representing 1286 children (4% of all children in this key stage). This is a reduction from 51 classes and 1600 children in January 2019 Reception and Key Stage 1 class size.

KS1 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
Total No. of Classes 1185 1170 1152
No. of Pupils 33466 32905 32171
1-30 Size Classes 1134 1140 1111
1-30 No. of Pupils 31866 31958 30885
31-35 Size Classes 51 30 41
31-35 No. of Pupils 1600 947 1286
36+ Size Classes 0 0 0
36+ No. of Pupils 0 0 0

There are a number of allowable reasons for infant classes to exceed 30. These include the in-year admission of young people who are looked after or those who have an Education Health and Care Plans. The Infant class size legislation does not apply to pupils in Key Stage 2, although the Department for Education (DfE) collect the data as below. Schools make their own arrangements about class sizes. In January 2022 there were 265 classes with over 30 pupils (8422 pupils, 18% of the key stage total).

KS2 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22
Total No. of Classes 1619 1623 1622
No. of Pupils 45975 45646 45632
1-30 Size Classes 1328 1377 1357
1-30 No. of Pupils 36700 37822 37210
31-35 Size Classes 291 246 265
31-35 No. of Pupils 9275 7824 8422
36+ Size Classes 0 0 0
36+ No. of pupils 0 0 0

There is no requirement for secondary schools to submit data on class sizes. Nationally, the DfE do not share school-level class size data for academies with local authorities. We therefore only have data at borough and district level for maintained schools.

There are 8 key stage 1 classes with more than 30 pupils:

-3 classes in Guildford – 1 school

-2 in Spelthorne – 1 school

-2 in Runnymede – 1 school

-1 in Elmbridge – 1 school

There are an additional 14 classes which exceed the 30-pupil limit for allowable

reasons such as those listed above. These are located as follows:

-1 Epsom & Ewell – 1 school

-1 Elmbridge – 1 school

-1 Guildford – 1 school

-4 Runnymede – 2 schools

-4 Spelthorne – 2 schools

-3 Waverley – 1 school

Generally, schools make their own arrangements regarding class sizes and we have identified only 4% of Key Stage 1 pupils are subject to classes over 30. We are, over the next five years investing £139m to create more school places. We are also investing £125m in increasing support and school places for pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).”

BECKY RUSH (WARLINGHAM)- Deputy leader and Cabinet member for Finance and Resources 

ROBERT KING (EGHAM)- Labour and Co-operative

(3rd Question)

“Does the Cabinet Member for Education and Learning believe removing the consideration of parental choice, in whether to fund school transport or not, harms social mobility?

Do the changes to school transport funding decisions harm disadvantaged parents and children who happen to live in school catchment areas with underperforming schools, compared to those who may have the means to pay or transport their children to schools outside these areas without funding?

What assessments have been made to ensure changes in policy does not have an unfair impact on one group of parents over another and what mitigations is any have been put in place?”


“All changes to Surrey County Council’s travel assistance policies were proposed and agreed in-line with the national guidance relating to the delivery of travel assistance arrangements by local authorities and will ensure that the Authority will continue to meet its statutory duty to provide travel assistance to eligible children and young people.

National guidance relating to national school admissions policy does not include criterion relating to underperforming schools when allocating school places or transport assistance.

In terms of the delivery of mainstream travel assistance, the Authority follows national guidance and considers a child eligible if they are attending their nearest qualifying school and live over two miles away (aged 5 to 8) and over three miles away (aged 8 to 16).

In circumstances where the Authority removes travel assistance arrangements on the basis that a child or young person is no longer eligible, parents/carers have a right of appeal in all cases. If a parent/carer does lodge an appeal, assistance will remain in place until the hearing has concluded.

In cases where a child or young person was previously entitled to travel assistance under extended rights legislation (evidenced by the submission of low-income entitlement such as Free School Meals (FSM)), if it is established that they are no longer entitled under this criteria, the Authority’s timeframe for the removal of assistance will be extended and the parent or carer will have the right of appeal.

Those who are eligible for travel assistance for example FSM eligibility, would retain their eligibility until the end of the current academic year.

The Authority’s Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA) was produced and published with the decision report considered at Cabinet when the Home to School Travel Assistance Policy was refreshed this year. Any parent or carer whose assistance is removed will be able to make representations at appeal. The EQIA also included a number of mitigations to inform the actions needed to address inequalities as a result of the proposed policy changes.

92% of schools in Surrey are good and outstanding and so the vast majority of families can access high quality education in their local community.”

NATALIE BRAMHALL (REDHILL WEST AND WRAY COMMON)- Cabinet member for Property and Waste


(3rd Question)

“Surrey Live reported recently that over 151 ‘schools in Surrey have buildings in urgent need of repair or replacement’. Can the Council confirm these figures by Borough and District?

What approaches have been made to the Government for support and additional funding? How does Surrey County Council seek to address this situation in the short term?”


The Surrey Live article refers to the national position of the condition of schools, and no reference is made to Surrey County Council. As a result, I am unable to comment on these figures specifically. Surrey County Council’s Land and Property function works across the school estate on an ongoing basis to monitor, prioritise and address any condition issues.

Surrey County Council takes part in full in all Department for Education (DfE) requests for school condition data and applies for any appropriate grant or programme funding from DfE as it is announced. Additionally, Surrey County Council receives an annual grant from the DfE for the maintenance of schools for which Surrey County Council retains responsibility. Academy Trusts also receive an annual grant from DfE to maintain their schools.

In the last financial year, Surrey County Council has delivered forty-two capital maintenance projects to improve the condition of schools at a cost of £8.2m. A further, similar programme of works is scheduled for FY 2022/23.

Additionally, the current Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) includes capital investment of £82m over the next five years in relation to the school capital maintenance programme. This is funded in part by a grant from the DfE of c£7m per annum (unconfirmed after 2022/23), with the remaining investment requirement funded by the Council’s own capital resources.”

MATT FURNISS (SHALFORD)- Cabinet member for Transport, Infrastructure and Growth

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