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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting : 29 February 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning

 

The outcome of the Statutory Notice to establish a new Special Educational Needs School, Penarth Learning Community

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise Cabinet of the outcome of the Statutory Notice to establish the new Special Educational Needs [SEN] school, Penarth Learning Community.

Recommendations

1.             To note that no objections have been received to the published Statutory Notice to discontinue Ashgrove School, Ysgol Erw'r Delyn and Ysgol Maes Dyfan and establish a new SEN school within the Penarth Learning Community.

2.             To determine the proposals to establish a new SEN school.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             If no objections are received to the statutory notice the final determination of the proposal rests with the publishing Authority.

2.             To approve the establishment of the new SEN school, Penarth Learning Community.

Background

2.             On 13 December 2011 Cabinet approved the publication of a statutory notice to discontinue Ashgrove School, Ysgol Erw'r Delyn and Ysgol Maes Dyfan and establish a new SEN school within the Penarth Learning Community (minute C1551).

3.             The proposal to close the existing St Cyres Comprehensive buildings and relocate the school to the Penarth Learning Community 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.             A statutory notice to discontinue three SEN schools and establish a new SEN school was published in the Western Mail on Wednesday 4th January 2012. On the same day copies of the statutory notice were also displayed at the entrance to all three schools, in the immediate vicinity of each school, in Barry and Penarth public library and on the Vale of Glamorgan Council website. The statutory notice period of one month expired on Saturday 4th February 2012.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             During the statutory notice period no objections to the proposal to establish a new SEN school were received by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

6.             In accordance with Welsh Government Circular 021/2009, School Organisation Proposals, if objections are received to a statutory notice the determination of the proposal rests with the Welsh Minister. If no objections are received within the objection period the proposer, in this case the Local Authority, is empowered to determine the proposal.

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

7.             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. A value engineering exercise lead by Property Section has reduced the capital costs required to deliver the scheme, necessitating reduced grant funding of £33,360,000 from the Welsh Government. The remaining 30% contribution has been identified within the Council's capital programme.

8.             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.

9.             The Penarth Learning Community building is being designed to achieve BREEAM excellent which will significantly reduce the CO2 emissions from the building when compared to the five existing sites occupied by the schools.

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 Circular 021/2009 is the most recent national statutory guidance.

Crime and Disorder Implications

11.        None arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

12.        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.

13.        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

14.        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.

15.        The proposal contributes towards all five key priorities of Education 2015; Vulnerable groups of learners, Engaging parents and learners, Improving the learning environment, Raising pupil attainment and Post 16 learning.

16.        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

17.        This is a matter for Executive Decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.        Public consultation on the Penarth Learning Community proposals took place between 17 October 2011 and 18 November 2011. The 23 comments received have been considered prior to publishing the statutory notice to discontinue the three SEN schools and establish a new SEN school.

19.        The Statutory Notice was publically displayed in the vicinity of each school, on the Vale of Glamorgan Council website and published in the Western Mail newspaper on 4th January 2012. No objections or comments were received in relation to this statutory notice prior to the end of the notice period on 4 February 2012.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None

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