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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  15th July 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Co-educational Secondary School Provision in Barry

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek Cabinet approval to consult stakeholders on the principle of working with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools to develop detailed proposals for a co-educational secondary school in Barry on the current school sites.  Any detailed proposals would be the subject of a second consultation.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet authorises consultation from September 2013 for a period of 8 weeks on the principle of working with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools to develop detailed proposals for a co-educational secondary school in Barry on the current school sites. 

2.             That Cabinet refers this report to the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To assess the level of support from the community for developing proposals with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools for a co-educational secondary school on the current sites of the two schools prior to undertaking detailed feasibility work to further develop such a proposal.  Detailed proposals are most likely to meet the needs of the children and young people of Barry if they are developed with the full engagement of stakeholders, in an open and transparent manner and are underpinned by public support.  Any proposals developed would be the subject of a second consultation.

2.             The Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee is informed of progress with consulting on school organisation proposals.

Background

2.             Secondary school education in Barry is provided through the following schools:

·               Barry Comprehensive School

·               Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School

·               Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg: Welsh Medium School

·                St Richard Gwyn: Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided School

3.             For many years English medium secondary education (excluding faith education) has been organised on a single sex model with Barry Comprehensive educating boys and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive educating girls. The schools share a mixed sixth form.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The two schools have a long history and tradition of providing education to local children and young people.  Many of the residents of Barry and the surrounding villages have benefitted from attending the schools which make a very valuable contribution to the lives of their pupils and the community.  Recent Estyn reports have described the standards at Barry Comprehensive as good and the prospect for improvement at both schools as good.

5.             In recent years feedback from parents to the Council's Admissions Team and comments received directly from schools suggests that a number of parents no longer favour single sex education for their children. Some parents are choosing Welsh medium primary school education in order to access co-educational secondary provision in Barry whilst others are opting for co-educational secondary schools outside of Barry, often sending their children to the appropriate feeder primary schools to guarantee a place at their preferred secondary school. 

6.             The report of the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee School Places Review Task and Finish Group considered by Cabinet on 4th February 2013, recommended that Cabinet investigate the amalgamation of Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools into a single co-educational school.

7.             It is increasingly unusual to educate young people in single sex settings.  It cannot be assumed that the views described in paragraph 5 represent the view of all parents and it is therefore important that the Council consults widely on the principle of developing proposals for a co-educational school on two sites before starting any feasibility work.

8.             It should be made clear at the outset that if the outcome of the consultation supports the establishment of co-educational provision any subsequent feasibility study would be based on Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools becoming one school with an upper and lower site on the sites of the two schools.

9.             Consultation on the principle of working with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools, to develop detailed proposals for a co-educational secondary school in Barry, would be carried out over a period of 8 weeks commencing in September 2013. The consultation process will include the publication of proposals on-line as well as face to face drop in sessions which will be publicised in due course.   The views of parents, pupils, governors, employees and the wider community will be sought.

10.        The results of consultation will be reported to Cabinet with a recommendation as to whether detailed feasibility work with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren should be undertaken.

11.        If, following consultation, it is agreed that detailed feasibility work is to be undertaken, the work would address questions such as:

·               The size of the school.

·               Confirming admission arrangements and links with primary schools.

·               The manner in which each site could best be used.

·               Any need for investment in the buildings.

·               Consultation arrangements.

·               Transitional arrangements.

·               The curriculum to be provided, particularly the sixth form programme.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.        The costs of carrying out consultation will be met from current resources.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications associated with this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        There are no legal implications at this stage.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.        There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.        Consultation will be carried out in accordance with the Council's equal opportunities policies and ethos.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.        Corporate objective to develop, consult on and implement a School Reorganisation Programme and Learning and Skills Directorate Plan objective to ensure that learning provision meets changing educational needs.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.        Ward Members have not been consulted as the school catchment areas extend across all wards in Barry and other areas such as Gwenfo and Rhws.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

 

Officers Consulted

Mark Haynes, Schools Organisation and Buildings Manager

Robert Jones, Consultation Policy Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

 

Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  15th July 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Co-educational Secondary School Provision in Barry

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To seek Cabinet approval to consult stakeholders on the principle of working with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools to develop detailed proposals for a co-educational secondary school in Barry on the current school sites.  Any detailed proposals would be the subject of a second consultation.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet authorises consultation from September 2013 for a period of 8 weeks on the principle of working with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools to develop detailed proposals for a co-educational secondary school in Barry on the current school sites. 

2.             That Cabinet refers this report to the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To assess the level of support from the community for developing proposals with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools for a co-educational secondary school on the current sites of the two schools prior to undertaking detailed feasibility work to further develop such a proposal.  Detailed proposals are most likely to meet the needs of the children and young people of Barry if they are developed with the full engagement of stakeholders, in an open and transparent manner and are underpinned by public support.  Any proposals developed would be the subject of a second consultation.

2.             The Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee is informed of progress with consulting on school organisation proposals.

Background

2.             Secondary school education in Barry is provided through the following schools:

·               Barry Comprehensive School

·               Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School

·               Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg: Welsh Medium School

·                St Richard Gwyn: Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided School

3.             For many years English medium secondary education (excluding faith education) has been organised on a single sex model with Barry Comprehensive educating boys and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive educating girls. The schools share a mixed sixth form.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.             The two schools have a long history and tradition of providing education to local children and young people.  Many of the residents of Barry and the surrounding villages have benefitted from attending the schools which make a very valuable contribution to the lives of their pupils and the community.  Recent Estyn reports have described the standards at Barry Comprehensive as good and the prospect for improvement at both schools as good.

5.             In recent years feedback from parents to the Council's Admissions Team and comments received directly from schools suggests that a number of parents no longer favour single sex education for their children. Some parents are choosing Welsh medium primary school education in order to access co-educational secondary provision in Barry whilst others are opting for co-educational secondary schools outside of Barry, often sending their children to the appropriate feeder primary schools to guarantee a place at their preferred secondary school. 

6.             The report of the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee School Places Review Task and Finish Group considered by Cabinet on 4th February 2013, recommended that Cabinet investigate the amalgamation of Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools into a single co-educational school.

7.             It is increasingly unusual to educate young people in single sex settings.  It cannot be assumed that the views described in paragraph 5 represent the view of all parents and it is therefore important that the Council consults widely on the principle of developing proposals for a co-educational school on two sites before starting any feasibility work.

8.             It should be made clear at the outset that if the outcome of the consultation supports the establishment of co-educational provision any subsequent feasibility study would be based on Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools becoming one school with an upper and lower site on the sites of the two schools.

9.             Consultation on the principle of working with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools, to develop detailed proposals for a co-educational secondary school in Barry, would be carried out over a period of 8 weeks commencing in September 2013. The consultation process will include the publication of proposals on-line as well as face to face drop in sessions which will be publicised in due course.   The views of parents, pupils, governors, employees and the wider community will be sought.

10.        The results of consultation will be reported to Cabinet with a recommendation as to whether detailed feasibility work with the governing bodies of Barry and Bryn Hafren should be undertaken.

11.        If, following consultation, it is agreed that detailed feasibility work is to be undertaken, the work would address questions such as:

·               The size of the school.

·               Confirming admission arrangements and links with primary schools.

·               The manner in which each site could best be used.

·               Any need for investment in the buildings.

·               Consultation arrangements.

·               Transitional arrangements.

·               The curriculum to be provided, particularly the sixth form programme.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.        The costs of carrying out consultation will be met from current resources.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.        There are no sustainability and climate change implications associated with this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        There are no legal implications at this stage.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.        There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.        Consultation will be carried out in accordance with the Council's equal opportunities policies and ethos.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.        Corporate objective to develop, consult on and implement a School Reorganisation Programme and Learning and Skills Directorate Plan objective to ensure that learning provision meets changing educational needs.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.        Ward Members have not been consulted as the school catchment areas extend across all wards in Barry and other areas such as Gwenfo and Rhws.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

 

Officers Consulted

Mark Haynes, Schools Organisation and Buildings Manager

Robert Jones, Consultation Policy Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

 

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