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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 14 January, 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

The Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20) - Business Justification Case for the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To request approval for the submission to the Welsh Government of a Business Justification Case for the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg in order to release Welsh Government capital funding from the 21st Century Schools Investment Programme.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the submission to the Welsh Government of a Business Justification Case for the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg in order to release Welsh Government capital funding from the 21st Century Schools Investment Programme.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that Welsh Government capital funding required for the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg is applied for promptly in order to secure the funding necessary to progress a high priority project within the school investment programme.

Background

2.         As reported to the Cabinet meeting of 9th July 2012 (Cabinet Minute C1754 refers) and following a report to the Scrutiny (Corporate Resources) Committee of 26th June 2012, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Schools Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20) consolidates in to a single document the recent history of Welsh Government and Vale of Glamorgan Council funding in schools and the planned capital investment within the Vale of Glamorgan for large scale new build/remodelling projects. 

3.         As outlined in the Vale’s Schools Investment Programme document in March 2010 the 21st Century Schools Programme was formally launched by the Welsh Government to support large-scale capital building projects across Wales with the aim of enhancing school buildings to meet 21st Century educational needs.  In line with Welsh Government requirements the Vale of Glamorgan Council's 21st Century Schools Strategic Outline Programme (the original SOP) was submitted to the Welsh Government in December 2010 and at the time the Welsh Government was providing a 70% grant support intervention rate towards local authority school investment projects.  However, as reported to the Cabinet Meeting of 19th October 2011 (Cabinet Minute C1470 refers) in July 2011 the Minister For Education and Skills outlined in a written statement that Welsh Government contributions would be reduced to 50% and as a result local authorities across Wales were invited to review and prepare revised forward outlook programmes for school capital investments. 

4.         At the Cabinet meeting of 16th November 2011 (Cabinet Minute C1523 refers) a revised forward outlook programme for the Vale called the Revised Band A programme of projects was reported and approved for submission to the Welsh Government based on the lower 50% grant support from the Welsh Government.

5.         The submission of the Revised Band A programme of projects (refer to paragraph 7) was successful and in December 2012 a Conditional Offer was received from the Welsh Government (subject to the approval of business cases for each scheme and statutory approvals where applicable) for £10.48 Million of Welsh Government grant support towards the total cost of £20.96 Million, which will transform and enhance various schools in Llantwit Major and Barry.

6.         On 22 May 2012 officers met with the Welsh Government to discuss the next steps in progressing the revised Band A Projects within the 21st Century Schools Programme. Welsh Government officers confirmed that capital funding could be available prior to the original start date of April 2014, if this would be beneficial to Local Authorities. The availability of Welsh Government funding would be subject to prior approval of business cases for projects over £5m and business justification cases for projects under £5m.

7.         As identified in the Vale’s Schools Investment Programme the completion of Ysgol Nant Talwg is recognised as a priority in order to meet demand for welsh medium education in Barry. The aim is to implement the project between 2013/14 and 2014/15 at an estimated cost of £2.739 million.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         In order to secure Welsh Government capital funding from the 21st Century Schools Investment Programme, a Business Justification Case for the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg must be submitted to the Welsh Government. The Business Justification Case is included as Appendix A to this report.

9.         As stated the aim of the project is to invest into Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg £2.739 million between 2013/14 and 2015/16 in order to meet increased parental demand for Welsh Medium primary education in Barry.  The Council has a legal responsibility to meet parental preference in terms of delivering Welsh Medium education.

10.      Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg is a “seed” school with a present population of 91 pupils (of which 37 are in Nursery, 35 in Reception and 19 in Year One). The school operates a mixed reception/year one class to comply with KS1 class size limit of 30 pupils. 

11.      The proposed investment of £2.739 million is required because the school’s existing accommodation is now insufficient to cater for Year 3 in September 2014. Pupil numbers are increasing more rapidly than originally anticipated with 114 pupils expected to attend the school in September 2014 and by September 2017 the school is projected have 207 pupils on roll.  Hence, the investment proposed is essential in order to meet this parental demand and allow the school to expand and offer enhanced school buildings and open spaces in accordance with the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme. 

12.      This project will result in a school with a capacity for 210 pupils but following investigations into alternative delivery methods for the new school the preferred option is to construct a system built school instead of the original proposal to extend the existing building in two separate phases. This will provide a permanent solution rather than the previously planned temporary building. The revised project will cost an additional £310k which can be achieved within the existing available 21st Century Schools programme funding and will provide a high quality learning environment within a cohesively designed building. The enhanced scheme is achievable due to significant cost savings gained through standardisation of design, economies of scale in manufacture and reduction is professional fee costs.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      The Schools Investment Programme, which includes the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg, is identified in the Council’s Capital Programme.

14.      A re-evaluation of the development needs within the Barry cluster has confirmed that after achieving the aims of the project £310k can be transferred from this project to support the completion of Ysgol Nant Talwg.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.      The aim will be to deliver through the design and construction of the school measures to ensure the school is sustainable and minimises its impact on the environment.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      There are no legal implications for arising from this matter.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this matter.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      There are no equal opportunities implications arising from this matter.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      The School Investment Programme, which includes the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg, is a Corporate Priority and improving the learning environment is a key priority within Education 2015.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      The School Investment Programme, which includes the completion of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg, is a matter for Executive Decision

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      Ward Member Consultation has been undertaken.  No adverse comments have been received to date.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

- 21st Century Schools Strategic Outline Programme - December 2010;

- Vale of Glamorgan Revised Band A programme of projects - November 2011

 

Contact Officer

Mark Haynes, School Organisation and Buildings Manager

 

Officers Consulted

Sian Davies, Managing Director

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Jane Wade, OM Property

Mark White, Major Projects Manager

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer.