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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting : 15th February 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning

 

St Cyres Governing Body Consultation on a Change of Status from Maintained Foundation School to Maintained Community Schools

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise Cabinet of the statutory consultation being undertaken by the Governing Body of St Cyres Comprehensive School regarding a change of status from a Maintained Foundation School to a Maintained Community School.

Recommendations

1.             Cabinet supports the proposal of St Cyres Governing Body to change the school's status from a Maintained Foundation School to a Maintained Community School.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             A change in status will facilitate the effective implementation of the Penarth Learning Community Scheme.

Background

2.             The statutory process in relation to a proposed change to the status of a school is largely the same as that followed to establish, close or re-organise schools with two main differences. Firstly, the statutory notice to change status must be brought forward by the Governing Body rather than the Local Authority which is a consultee. Secondly, irrespective of whether there are any objections, the proposal must be determined by the Welsh Government.

3.             The Governors of St Cyres Comprehensive School have agreed to consult stakeholders on a change of status from Maintained Foundation School to Maintained Community School. The consultation paper (Appendix A), was issued on 20th January with responses due by the 20th February. The consultation paper sets out the reasons why the Governing Body is proposing the change in status as well as the timetable for the statutory process. 

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The proposals for Penarth Learning Community include the replacement of St Cyres Comprehensive School which will be co-located with a new Special School providing education and care for pupils with a wide spectrum of learning needs. A central theme of the scheme is shared use of the site and school buildings both by the schools involved and the community. A change in status would support the effective implementation and operation of the Penarth Learning Community for the reasons summarised below.

5.             The business case for grant funding was based on a shared site model which would facilitate extended community use and a degree of shared building space. Should St Cyres retain its Foundation Status the implementation and operation of such a model would be unnecessarily complex in that ownership of part of the site and buildings would transfer to St Cyres. Determining the land and buildings to be transferred would in of itself be a complicated matter. Whilst it might be possible to enter into a legal agreement in relation to use and access, this course of action would involve unnecessary cost and is likely to be protracted.

6.             The financial business case for Penarth Leaning Community includes an assumed capital receipt from the sale of the St Cyres Dinas Powys site. A change in status would result in ownership transferring from St Cyres to the Council subject to signed agreement by the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government has confirmed that the agreement will require the Council to complete a simple A4 form which it will then authorise.

7.             The grant application process for transitional 21st Century Schools funding required the Council to demonstrate efficiency savings within its financial management case. The shared nature of the site and building supports the development of joint staffing structures for facility management services as well as some support services such as administration and ICT technical support.  It would be difficult to develop a shared staffing model given that staff are on different salary structures and have contracts of employment with different employers. A change in status from Maintained Foundation to Maintained Community School would address this issue.

8.             A change in status would require a new Instrument of Government to      be drawn up and would necessitate a change to the composition of the Governing Body. The composition of the current Foundation School Governing Body and the required composition of a Governing Body for a Community Secondary School is shown below.

Current Composition of Governing Body

Future Composition of Governing Body

Type of Governor

Number

Number

Parent

7

6

LEA

2

5

Teacher

2

2

Staff

1

1

Headteacher

1

1

Partnership

5

0

Community

3

5

Total

21

20

 

9.             A change in status would result in the Council becoming the Admissions Authority which will assist the consistent management of admissions and any admission appeals in the future. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

10.        The formula funding of Foundation and Community Schools is exactly the same and so the change in status will not impact in this respect. It should be noted however that the current formula delegates funding to each school to meet the exact rates payment due. As a Foundation School, St Cyres has charitable status and therefore enjoys rate relief of 80% whereas the full annual amount will be payable as a Community School. The increase in rates has been allowed for in the draft Individual Schools Budget 2012/13.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.        The legislation relevant to a school's change of category is Section 35 and Schedule 8 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998; The change of Category of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2001 and The Change of Category of Maintained Schools (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2001.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.        None arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.        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.

14.        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

15.        The implementation of Penarth Learning Community 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.

16.        The scheme contributes to all five key priorities of Education 2015.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.        The Governing Body of St Cyres Comprehensive School is required to consult with a range of stakeholders as set out in Welsh Government legislation.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

 

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Mark Haynes, School Organisation and Access Manager

Mike Matthews, Principal Officer, School Organisation and Access

 

Responsible Officer:

Bryan Jeffreys

Director of Learning and Development

 

 

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