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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 18 November, 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Remodelling of Colcot Primary School, Barry

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To request Cabinet approval to remodel Colcot Primary school to improve the learning environment.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the remodelling of Colcot Primary School as outlined in this report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To allow the remodelling to proceed to improve the learning environment.

Background

2.         The aims of the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools Programme are:

·           Learning environments for children and young people in Wales aged from 3-19 that will enable the successful implementation of strategies for school improvement and better educational outcomes;

·           A sustainable education system through better use of resources to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the education estate which enhances local public service provision; and

·           A 21st century schools standard for all schools in Wales which also reduces the recurrent costs, energy consumption and carbon emissions.

3.         In response to the 21st Century Schools initiative the Vale submitted a 21st Century Schools Strategic Outline Programme (SOP) to the Welsh Government which set out our plans for meeting the aims of the programme up to 2020/21. Due to a reduction in capital funding arising from the economic down turn the Welsh Government contribution towards the programme was reduced to 50% and a revised SOP requested for the highest priority schemes to be completed between 2014/15 and 2019/20.

4.         The aims of the 21st Century Schools programme have also been revised to reduce surplus capacity and to improve the condition of school buildings.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The remodelling of Colcot Primary would improve the teaching and learning environment for children from an area with higher levels of deprivation and result in a school meeting current curriculum standards. At present the proposal includes the removal of the two demountable units and refurbishment of the early year's unit. Improving the internal learning environment by addressing deficiencies with the heating system and reducing solar gain to classrooms. The scheme would also improve access around the school and enhance the entrance area. The final scheme will be developed in consultation with the school.

6.         Research suggests that the quality of where we learn affects the quality of how we learn.  To have the greatest impact the learning environment should support and enhance the learning process, encourage innovation and be a tool for learning.  Improvements to the learning environment of Colcot Primary School will have benefits to the pupils in terms of their access to up to date developments in technology to support all their learning activities, with emphasis on literacy and numeracy in line with the aims of the Welsh Governments' 21st Century School programme.  The enhancements to the learning environment will give teachers the tools to further engage pupils in their learning; give pupils and parents a sense of pride in their school.  The proposals will give further opportunities to enhance the already well-established family learning, families first and nurture programmes, which in turn support the raising of standards agenda within the school from a holistic view of the child.

7.         Colcot Primary school's main block opened in the early 1950's and was extended with a system built CLASP building, currently housing the early year's unit, in 1970. Two double demountable classrooms were added to the school in the 1990's. The two demountable classroom blocks and the early years unit are all in poor condition despite recent investment into the early years unit by both the school and Council. The demountables are no longer used by the school due to their poor condition.

8.         Colcot Primary is one of the few schools in Barry which meets current recommended site area guidelines including sufficient playing fields.

9.         The existing main block suffers from solar gain and a poor heating system which results in an environment which is detrimental to effective and efficient teaching and learning. Despite occupying a generally level site disabled access around the main block is hindered by steps in the circulation areas and the early year's unit has suffered from repeated problems with roof leaks and water ingress through the cladding. The two double demountable classroom blocks are in poor condition and are no longer required to meet the pupil numbers.

10.      The proposed remodelling of Colcot Primary will not require a statutory public consultation process.

 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.      The estimated cost for the remodelling of Colcot Primary to address the items above is £500,000.  Funding is included under the Barry Cluster Schemes within the Capital Programme between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

12.      The remodelling of the school will not result in a reduction to the number of staff required at the school.

13.      Removing the two demountables and refurbishing the early years unit will reduce the recurrent running costs incurred by the school by removing the need to maintain the demountables and increasing insulation levels in the early years unit.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.      The remodelling of Colcot Primary will investigate the feasibility of upgrading insulation to minimise carbon emissions arising from the running of the school building.

15.      The better use of resources within the education system achieved through the proposed remodelling of Colcot Primary will improve the sustainability of the education service in the Vale.

 Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      The proposed remodelling and removal of the two double demountable classrooms will remove currently unused capacity from the school. The school capacity will still be greater than the highest number of pupils on roll at the school at any time in the previous two school years. Therefore in accordance with the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 the Authority can proceed with these works without undertaking a statutory process. Statutory public consultation will therefore not be necessary.

17.      Dependant upon the final agreed scope of works planning consent may be required prior to undertaking these works.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.      Colcot Primary is single storey and occupies a generally level site but includes two flights of stairs preventing full access to the building. The remodelling of the school will ensure full accessibility to the whole school for all members of the local community.

20.      The remodelling of Colcot Primary would provide pupils and the community with access to a wide range of facilities. A key driver will be to improve school effectiveness including driving up standards of teaching and attainment, improving educational outcomes for children and young people in all phases and helping to narrow the inequalities in achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged groups and individuals.

 

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.      The remodelling of Colcot Primary progresses 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.'

22.      This scheme also contributes towards the completion of Outcome 3, Objective 9 of the Learning and Skills Directorate Service Plan 2013/17 to ensure 'Learners have access to an appropriate range of high level provision.'

Policy Framework and Budget

23.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

24.      Ward Member consultation has been undertaken.  To date, no adverse comments have been received.

25.      Consultation has been carried out with the school regarding the reduction in capacity. It is the responsibility of the Governing Body to approved changes in capacity at the school.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Mark Haynes                                    School Organisation and Buildings Manager

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham                            Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Lynette Jones                       Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

Jane Wade                            Operational Manager, Property

Jodi Winter                            Operational Manager, Legal Services

Gemma Jones                      Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill                          Chief Learning and Skills Officer