Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting : 13 December 2011


Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning


The proposed publication of Statutory Notice to establish a new Special Educational Needs School in Penarth, Penarth Learning Community


Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise Cabinet of the statutory processes undertaken on proposals to establish a new Special Educational Needs [SEN] school in Penarth, in order to enable it to decide whether or not to publish a Statutory Notice to this effect.


1.             To publish a Statutory Notice to establish a new SEN school within the Penarth Learning Community to replace existing provision at Ashgrove School, Ysgol Erw'r Delyn and Ysgol Maes Dyfan.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To allow the Penarth Learning Community project to proceed.


2.             On 19 October 2011 Cabinet were informed of the statutory process in relation to the Penarth Learning Community (minute C1523).

3.             The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 details prescribed alterations to schools which require the publication of proposals and adherence with the statutory process outlined in the previous Cabinet report. The requirement to publish proposals relates to the establishment of a new Community Special School and the discontinuance of the existing three SEN Schools. The proposal for St Cyres Comprehensive does not require a statutory notice and can therefore be completed by the Local Authority without regard to the statutory process in respect of the publication of proposals.

4.             Public consultation on education matters relating to the Penarth Learning Community proposals was undertaken from 17 October 2011 to 18 November 2011 with all interested parties and public meetings were held at St Cyres Comprehensive School in Penarth and Ysgol Maes Dyfan Special School in Barry on the 1 and 3 November 2011 respectively.

5.             The consultation process is the initial stage of the statutory process which considers educational issues relating to the establishment of the new school. Matters relating to Planning issues such as the scale of the development, traffic issues and pedestrian routes will be fully dealt with through the Planning process which is due to start early in 2012.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.             A total of 23 comments were received in response to the published Consultation Paper. Of these responses nine were from local residents opposing the development and raising concerns solely relating to planning matters which will be addressed through the planning process due to start in the new year. One was from Stanwell Comprehensive requesting clarification on the consultation paper and the remaining 13, from Local Authorities, Penarth Town Council and existing parents were in favour of the proposal.

7.             Statutory Consultation is covered by the Welsh Government Circular 021/2009, School Organisation Proposals.  In making a decision, the Minister will, in the first instance, address whether the Council has consulted reasonably with staff, parents, governors, other schools, trade unions, bordering local authorities, local Councillors and other stakeholders the Council considers to be reasonable consultees.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.             As previously reported to Cabinet on the 20 July 2011 (Minute C1399) the Welsh Government has approved grant funding of up to £34,563,200 to support the Penarth Learning Community. The remaining 30% contribution has been identified within the Council's Capital programme.

9.             The Vale is committed to protecting the employment of its staff.  Whilst it is not possible to predict in advance what effect parental preference will have on any changes in school provision, the Council will work closely with staff, governors and trade unions to manage any workforce implications effectively, sensitively and in partnership.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.        Powers for Council's to develop school organisation proposals derive from the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.  Welsh Government Guidance 21/2009 is the most recent national statutory guidance.

11.        If approved, the statutory notice to establish the new SEN school will comply with the requirements of Section 31 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.

12.        Issues relating to the traffic, access to sites and highway implications are subject to planning legislation.

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.        None arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        At present access around St Cyres Comprehensive school is hindered to pupils with mobility impairment due to the original design and layout of the buildings. The Penarth Learning Community will be fully accessible to the whole community.

15.        The enhanced Special Educational Needs teaching and therapy areas will improve the educational provision for children attending the school helping them to achieve their full potential and providing improved facilities for use by other members of the community outside of school hours.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.        The proposal achieves Lifelong Learning and Skills objectives LL4 'Develop Special schools as Centres of excellence to support the work of mainstream schools' and progresses LL8 'Finalise proposals for the developments of St Cyres and Llantwit Major Schools' included within the Corporate Plan 2010-14.

17.        The proposed strategy would contribute towards all five key priorities of Education 2015 namely improving the Learning Environment, raising pupil attainment and Post 16 learning.

18.        This proposal will contribute towards the Strategic Planning and Performance Service Plan objective to bring schools up to 21st century standards, improve the learning environment and meet the demand for school places in the Vale.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.        The publication of a statutory notice is for Executive Decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.        Public consultation on the Penarth Learning Community proposals took place between 17 October 2011 and 18 November 2011.

21.        In addition to the consultation paper being advertised on the Vale of Glamorgan Council website the following organisation were informed directly by e-mail or post:-

·               Staff and parents of children attending St Cyres Comprehensive, feeder primary schools and SEN schools - Cogan Primary School, Fairfield Primary School, Llandough Primary School, St Andrew's Major C/W Primary school, Murch Junior School, Ashgrove Special School, Ysgol Erw'r Delyn Special School and Ysgol Maes Dyfan Special School

·               Chairs of Governors of Penarth and surrounding area schools

·               All Vale of Glamorgan Councillors

·               All Vale of Glamorgan Directors

·               Barry, Dinas Powys, Llandough and Penarth Town Council’s

·               Directors of Education of the following Local Authorities  - Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Blaenau Gwent, Merthyr Tydfil, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Bridgend, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot


·               Church in Wales Diocesan Directors of Education for Bridgend, Monmouth and Cardiff

·               Roman Catholic Diocesan Director of Education, Archdiocese of Cardiff

·               Cardiff and Vale College

·               University Health Boards for Cardiff and Vale, Abertawe, Aneurin Bevan, Cwm Taf

·               Welsh Government Assembly Members and Members of Parliament for the above authorities

·               Young People’s Partnership

·               Estyn

·               Welsh Government [DCELLS]

·               Children’s Commissioner for Wales

·               Voluntary Bodies - SNAP Cymru, NAS Cymru, Downs Syndrome Association, Autism Cymru, Scope

·               Union Representatives - ATL, NUT, ASCL, NASUWT, Unison, NAHT, GMB, Unite

·               Children and Young Peoples Partnership

·               Early Years Childcare Development Partnership

22.        In summary, the Council believes that it has undertaken reasonable and appropriate consultation. 

23.        Consultation responses and minutes of the public meetings held are available in the Members' room.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

24.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Cabinet Report, 21st Century Schools Programme, 19 October 2011

Contact Officer

Mark Haynes, School Organisation and Access Manager

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Mike Matthews, Principal Officer, Strategic Planning and Performance

Responsible Officer:

Bryan Jeffreys

Director of Learning and Development