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Agenda Item No. 5

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 18 JULY 2016

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 6 JUNE 2016

 

 

C3204        Proposal to Increase Welsh Medium Secondary School Places (RE) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - Learning and Culture) –

 

Approval was sought to consult stakeholders on a proposal to increase Welsh medium secondary school places by expanding Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg on its existing site to accommodate future demand.

 

During 2015 the Council consulted on a proposal to transform secondary schools in Barry by:

 

i)          establishing a new mixed English-medium comprehensive school

ii)         expanding Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg; and

iii)        relocation to create two distinct campuses for Welsh medium and English medium education.

 

This proposal if implemented would have resulted in Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg moving to the Bryn Hafren site and the English medium mixed sex school being established on the site currently occupied by Barry Comprehensive School and Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg.

 

Following consideration of responses to the consultation, Cabinet decided at its meeting of 5 October 2015 not to progress further with this proposal but to establish an Advisory Board to review options, with particular regard to the option of establishing two mixed sex English medium secondary schools as well as addressing the need to expand Welsh medium secondary school places.

 

The new Advisory Board included the head teachers and chairs of governors of the three secondary schools, two head teacher representatives from feeder primary schools, representation from further and higher education, the relevant Cabinet Member, the Managing Director and officers of the Learning and Skills Directorate, was established in January 2016.

 

Having considered feedback from engagement activity carried out with the public, pupils, staff and governors of Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools and Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg, the Board considered options for the future of the three schools and agreed that the preferred option was to:

 

i)          Expand Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg on its current site with the provision of a new entrance from Port Road

ii)         Build a new 11-18 mixed sex school on the site of Barry Comprehensive School

iii)        Create a modern, 11-18 mixed sex school by refurbishing and modernising the Bryn Hafren buildings.

 

The proposal to expand Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg on its current site would result in the school's capacity being increased by over 200 pupil places which required a statutory process to be carried out. To establish two 11-18 mixed sex English medium secondary schools, the statutory process would involve closing Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools and opening two new 11-18 mixed sex schools.

 

Unlike the initial re-organisation proposal, the two proposals were not interlinked and could progress separately.  It was therefore appropriate to carry out separate statutory processes. Consulting on two separate proposals would be more straightforward than consulting on a single, more complex proposal and would result in groups of stakeholders being consulted on those issues which were most relevant to them.

 

Taking into account the capacity required to conduct two concurrent statutory proposals and the limited resources available, the statutory processes, where applicable, would be carried out at different times. The proposal to expand Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg being the more straightforward of the proposals was dealt with in the report. Subject to Cabinet approval, consultation would commence in June 2016.

 

Welsh medium secondary education was provided at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg, a 3-19 all through school, located in Barry. The school provided the only Welsh Medium secondary school provision for the Authority and accommodated pupils from the seven Welsh medium primary schools located across the Vale of Glamorgan. The capacity of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg, the number on roll as at the Pupil Level Annual Schools Census (PLASC) 2016 and projected pupil numbers were shown in Appendix A attached to the report. The pupil place demand for Welsh medium secondary education was forecast to increase significantly from September 2018 as pupils from two new Welsh medium primary schools established in Llantwit Major and Barry in September began to feed into the secondary sector.

 

Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg was forecast to be at full capacity by 2020. Additional places would be required to accommodate the additional children to allow them to continue in Welsh medium education. The Council had a statutory obligation duty to meet the demand for Welsh medium education. In order to provide sufficient capacity to meet the demand for additional Welsh medium places for children of secondary school age, it was estimated that Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg would need to increase its secondary phase capacity from 1,151 places to 1,450 places.  This was an overall increase in school capacity of 299 places or 22 per cent.

 

In order to increase the capacity of the school the Council would need to comply with the statutory process detailed in the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. Appendix B attached to the report set out the anticipated timescale for this process if approved by Cabinet.

 

At the meeting, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education commented that she was delighted to bring this report to Cabinet; a comprehensive consultation was planned and she looked forward to having detailed conversations with stakeholders. Once the consultation was concluded, this matter would be reported back to Cabinet.

 

The Leader also commented that the transformation of secondary schools in Barry was being progressed on the basis of developing Welsh Medium provision first followed by English Medium provision and the Council was happy to receive and consider any comments that would come forward from the consultation.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Director of Learning and Skills, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education, be authorised to undertake consultation from 26 June, 2016 for a period of 6 weeks on the proposal to increase Welsh medium secondary school places by expanding Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg on its current site.

 

(2)       T H A T it be noted the implementation of the proposal would be subject to consideration of responses to consultation to the relevant statutory processes and that progress would be subject to the availability of capital funding from Welsh Government.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee Learning and Culture for consideration as part of the forthcoming consultation exercise.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To assess the level of support for the proposal to expand Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg.

 

(2)       To assess the views and comments of those informally consulted.

 

(3)       To ensure that the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committees was consulted on the proposal.

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 6 JUNE 2016

 

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