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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 18 November 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Expansion of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, Llantwit Major

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To request Cabinet approval to expand Ysgol Dewi Sant to a 210 place school with nursery utilising a pattern book design.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant to a 210 place primary school with nursery on the existing site utilising a pattern book design subject to the obtaining of the additional funding referred to at paragraph 9 of this report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To allow the expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant to proceed to meet parental demand for Welsh Medium primary education in the Llantwit Major area.

Background

2.         Ysgol Dewi Sant opened in Llantwit Major in September 2011 in a modular building which comprised a nursery and single classroom sufficient for 30 children along with a hall and associated administration and staff areas. The school's catchment area includes Llantwit Major, St Athan and Wick.

3.         The school opened with four children in the reception class and was designed to expand as additional children joined the reception class and the older children progressed through the school. As of September 2013 there are a total of 33 children in the reception class, years 1 and 2 with a further 20 children attending the nursery class who could apply for reception class in 2014.

4.         Due to increasing pupil numbers an additional double demountable classroom was installed at the school during the 2013 school summer holidays.

5.         The Welsh Government have confirmed in principle approval for 50% capital grant funding towards the expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant through the 21st Century Schools Programme. Final approval for this funding is subject to a successful Business Justification Case which will be submitted in December 2013.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The existing school comprises a modular building and a double demountable classroom with sufficient capacity for 90 children. The original proposal was to extend the existing modular building to increase capacity to 210 places. However following a feasibility study a number of issues were raised which would result in difficulties if the existing modular building was expanded. These include inability to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating for the new building, high cost of retro-fitting a fire suppressing sprinkler system into the existing building and difficulties in achieving a layout which results in an efficient pupil flow through the school and thereby promotes good educational outcomes.

7.         Due to the issues above the preferred option is to utilise a pattern book design school providing 210 places plus a nursery on the existing site, as previously agreed by Cabinet for Ysgol Nant Talwg in Barry. The existing two buildings at Ysgol Dewi Sant would be relocated to alternative school sites following the completion of the new school which, if approved, could open in September 2015.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.         The capital cost for a new 210 place school is estimated to be £2,739,000. £2,196,000 is currently included within the approved capital programme for the expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant within the 21st century Schools programme.

9.         The 21st Century schools programme is joint funded by the Council with a 50% contribution from the Welsh Government. Since the initial approval for the programme additional schemes have been included which increases the Council's funding by £1,175,000 above the Welsh Government's contribution. In order to fund the expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant an additional £543,000 will be required from the Welsh Government. The project cannot progress without this additional funding being agreed.

10.      Increased staffing costs arising due to the expansion of the school will be funded from the Learning and Skills revenue budget via the formula allocation to schools.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

11.      The proposed pattern book design school will meet BREEAM excellent rating to minimise carbon emissions arising from the running of the school building.

12.      The existing school comprises a modular building and a double demountable classroom dating from 2011 and 2013 respectively. At present the proposal is to transfer these buildings to another site for continued educational use. Once proposals detailing alternative sites have been developed these will be reported to Cabinet for approval.

 Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      The Authority successfully completed the statutory process to establish a 210 place school in 2010.

14.      The expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant is dependant upon the approval of planning consent for the new 210 place school.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      The expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant is required to meet parental demand for Welsh Medium education in and around Llantwit Major.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      The expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant is included within objective LS1 of the Corporate Plan 2013-2017 to ensure that 'citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan have the skills, knowledge and abilities required to maximise their opportunities.'

18.      The expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant contributes towards the completion of Outcome 3, Objective 9 of the Learning and Skills Service Plan 2013/17 to ensure 'Learners have access to an appropriate range of high level provision.'

Policy Framework and Budget

19.      This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.      Consultation has taken place with relevant Officers and Ward Members.  Ward Members have considered the proposals and agree to the expansion of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Mark Haynes                                    School Organisation and Buildings Manager

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham                            Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Jane Wade                            Operational Manager, Property

Jodi Winter                            Operational Manager, Legal Services

Gemma Jones                      Senior Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill                          Chief Learning and Skills Office
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