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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 February, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Proposed expansion of Ysgol Gwaun y Nant to meet the demand for Welsh medium education in the Barry area

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To advise Cabinet of the outcome of the consultation exercise undertaken on a proposal to expand Ysgol Gwaun y Nant from a 210 place to 420 place school to meet the growing demand for Welsh medium education in the Barry area in order to enable it to decide whether or not to publish a statutory public notice to this effect.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet notes the findings of the consultation exercise on the proposed expansion of Ysgol Gwaun Y Nant.

2.         That Cabinet notes the increased demand for Welsh medium education in the Barry area of the Vale of Glamorgan.

3.         To approve the publication of a consultation report required by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and subsequent School Organisation Code 2013.

4.         To approve the publication of a statutory public notice required to expand Ysgol Gwaun y Nant from a 210 place school to 420 places to meet the growing demand for Welsh medium education in Barry.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure the views of prescribed consultees are taken into account in the decision making process.

2.         To ensure that the Authority meets its statutory obligation to meet parental demand for Welsh medium education.

3.         To ensure the Authority meets the legal requirements of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and School Organisation Code 2013.

4.         To increase the number of Welsh medium places at Ysgol Gwaun y Nant from 2014 onwards in order to meet parental demand for Welsh medium education in the Barry area.

Background

2.         The Local Authority has a statutory duty to meet parental demand for Welsh medium education in its area.

3.         There has been a significant increase in demand for Welsh medium places across the Vale since 2009 that led to the opening of two new Welsh medium schools in September 2011 in Llantwit Major and Barry.

4.         The growth in demand for Welsh medium places has continued since 2011 across the Vale to the extent that in Barry there is an expected shortfall of 8 reception places for September 2014 with continued growth expected beyond this date. 

5.         The issue surrounding a shortfall of Welsh medium places in the Barry area in future was reported to Cabinet on the 23rd September 2013. Cabinet approved the expansion of Ysgol Gwaun y Nant to meet future demand subject to the statutory requirements required by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

6.         Ysgol Gwaun y Nant and Oakfield Primary school both currently occupy separate parts of a former two form entry (420 place) primary school. The expansion would involve the construction of a new one form entry (210 place) building to accommodate Oakfield Primary on the existing site and the remodelling of the building currently occupied by Ysgol Gwaun y Nant and Oakfield Primary to enlarge Ysgol Gwaun y Nant to accommodate 420 children plus an enlarged nursery.

7.         Before proceeding to the publication of a statutory notice the Local Authority must, at the outset, consult on the proposal with prescribed consultees. Consultation must also be undertaken with children and young people.

8.         A consultation report must be published within 13 weeks of the end of the period allowed for responses to the consultation exercise. The report must be published electronically and hard copies must be made available on request. All prescribed consultees must either receive a hard copy or be e-mailed a link to the relevant website.

9.         The publication of the consultation report must take place before any proposal is published.

Relevant Issues and Options

10.      The Welsh Government issued a School Organisation Code in 2013 that came into effect from the 1st October 2013. The Local Authority must act in accordance with the Code as determined by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

11.      Section 48 of the 2013 Act requires that before school organisation proposals are published they must first be subject to consultation. A consultation document must be published and provided to prescribed consultees. The consultation document and supplementary information is attached at Appendix A, a copy of which is provided in the Members room and on the Councils website.

12.       Appropriate consultation has taken place with prescribed consultees details of which are attached at Appendix B a copy of which is provided in the Members room and on the Councils website. Consultation has also been undertaken with children on the school council of Ysgol Gwaun y Nant.

13.      Consultation was undertaken between the 18th November 2013 and 17th January 2014. Consultees were issued with a hard copy of the document which was also published on the Council’s website. The consultation period was extended to the 17th January 2014 due to technical issues in the e-mail system for providing responses. Meetings with staff and governors were held on the 29th November 2013, a drop in session for parents was held on the 12th December 2013 and the school council was consulted on the 18th December 2013.

14.      The Authority is required to publish a consultation report on the conclusion of the consultation exercise.

15.      In total the Local Authority received 6 responses to the consultation exercise. The feedback was positive in terms of the educational position. Some concerns related to increased traffic, parking and site issues which would be addressed under the planning stage consultation which is separate from the educational position. Responses have been provided to comments in the consultation report.  A summary of comments received and the Council’s response are attached in the consultation report at Appendix C a copy of which is provided in the Members room and on the Councils website.

16.      The feedback from meetings was positive, recognising the need to increase Welsh medium provision. The meetings undertaken with staff, governors and children raised specific issues regarding the school design, co-location of the two schools on a single site and local traffic but generally welcomed the proposal. Notes of the meetings with staff and the Governing Body are included within the consultation report attached to this report.

17.      The proposal will meet the increased demand for Welsh medium provision in the Barry area in future and ensure statutory requirements are met. The proposal will involve the building of a new pattern book design school for Oakfield Primary and remodel the existing school to increase capacity to 420 places for Ysgol Gwaun Y Nant.

18.      To progress the proposal a statutory notice must be published providing 28 days for objections. The notice must be published on a school day and with 15 school days included within the notice period.  It is proposed to issue a statutory notice for the expansion to run from the 3 March to 2014 to 31 March 2014 if approval to proceed is granted.

19.      Following the publication of a statutory notice and objection period, a further report to cabinet will be issued on the outcome of the statutory notice period.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

20.      The provision of a new pattern book design school for Oakfield Primary and remodelling the existing school to increase capacity to 420 places for Ysgol Gwaun Y Nant is estimated to cost £3,645,000 which can be met from the existing funding available within the Capital Programme.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

21.      New build elements of the scheme will meet BREEAM excellent rating significantly reducing the running costs and carbon emissions arising from the building.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22.      Powers for Councils to develop school organisation proposals derive from the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

23.       If approved, the statutory notice to expand Ysgol Gwaun y Nant will comply with the requirements of The Schools Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and the School Organisation Code, Statutory Code Document no. 006/2013.

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.      There are direct crime and disorder implications as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.      The expansion of Welsh medium education will meet parental demand for Welsh Medium education in Barry. The new building for Oakfield Primary school will provide excellent educational facilities for children living in a neighbourhood that experiences higher levels of socio-economic deprivation.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.      The expansion of Ysgol Gwaun y Nant and new building for Oakfield Primary progresses LS2 to 'Develop, consult on and implement a School Reorganisation Programme to ensure the right schools are provided in the right places.' included within the Corporate Plan 2013-17.

27.      The schemes detailed in this report contribute towards service outcome 3, objective 9 'Learners have access to an appropriate range of quality provision' of the Learning and Skills Directorate Service Plan 2013/17.

Policy Framework and Budget

28.      This is a matter for Executive decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

30.      Public consultation with all interested parties in accordance with legislation has been carried out regarding the expansion of Ysgol Gwaun y Nant.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

31.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Mike Matthews

Principal Officer, Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

01446 709727

 

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham - Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Mark Haynes - School Organisation and Buildings Manager

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Chief Learning and Skills Officer

 

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