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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 24th April 2012

 

Report of the Chief Executive

 

School Investment Strategy: Welsh Medium Seed Schools

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To update Scrutiny on progress to date in relation to the establishment of Welsh Medium Seed Schools in Barry (Ysgol Nant Talwg) and Llantwit Major (Ysgol Dewi Sant).

2.             To advise Scrutiny on the proposals for the future development of both schools.

Recommendations

1.             That the current position and future proposals regarding provision of the Welsh Medium Seed Schools be noted.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             That Scrutiny is aware of progress to date and future proposals for the development of both schools.

 

Background

2.             A budget of £890,000 was included in the 2010/11 Capital Programme for the establishment of two Welsh Medium seed schools located at Barry and Llantwit Major.

3.             A report of the Director of Finance, ICT and Property to Scrutiny Committee of 15th February 2011 (Minute 906) advised that a separate report was being submitted to Cabinet and Council reporting that, subject to planning approval, a maximum of £202,000 would be spent in 2010/11. It had therefore been requested that the original 2010/11 budget be reduced to this amount and the balance of £688,000 be slipped into 2011/12. 

4.             As outlined within the report, it was originally intended that demountable accommodation forming part of the schemes would be leased. The original funding of £890,000 was to cater for the installation of the demountable units together with associated groundwork, infrastructure works and fees. Lease costs for the demountable buildings were to be funded from within the Learning and Development Revenue Budget.

5.             The report further advised that leasing quotations that had been obtained for the provision of the demountable buildings showed a significant increase on current leases. This resulted in the option of outright purchase of the buildings providing better value for money in the medium to long term. A revised capital budget estimate (subject to tender) for the Welsh Medium Seed Schools profiled over six years was included within Appendix C of the Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Cabinet Meeting dated 21st February 2011 (Minute C1228).

Relevant Issues and Options

6.             The first phase of both schools were completed in September 2011. The first phase of Ysgol Nant Talwg has provided accommodation for key stage 1 (nursery through to year 2) and at Ysgol Dewi Sant accommodation has been provided for nursery and reception.

7.             The main construction contract at Ysgol Nant Talwg was awarded to Dawnus Construction Limited in the amount of £1,091,797.12. The Final Account which has recently been agreed stands at £1,280,043.68. The capital programme contains amounts of £1,569,000 and £45,000 for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years respectively, giving a combined total of £1,614,000. This budget caters for the total project costs including main contract, external services, furniture and equipment, educational resources, consultant fees, etc. The anticipated final cost of the project in these two financial years is £1,615,000 i.e. £1,000 higher than the approved budget.

8.             The main reasons for the contractors Final Account exceeding the Contract Sum are as follows:

·         Reconfiguration of the school layout to better suit the needs of the school.  

·         Significant additional earthworks operations during the construction phase of the sports pitch (attributable to contaminated ground, sub soil drainage etc).

·         A significant increase in cost to the estimated sum for a new water main.

9.             At Ysgol Dewi Sant the construction contract was awarded to Raymond Brown Construction Ltd in the amount of £604,674. The Final Account which was recently agreed stands at £658,648.18. The capital programme contains amounts of £851,000 (originally £793k plus £58k which was approved in cabinet of 18th January 2012) and £11,000 for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years respectively, giving a combined total of £862,000. The anticipated final cost of the project in these two years is approximately £858,000.

10.        The main reasons for the contractors Final Account exceeding the Contract Sum and the original budget figure being exceeded are as follows:

·         Changes in building design which were only identified when teachers had been appointed to the school as well as previously unknown facilities which were provided to satisfy catering needs.

·         A trench for the IT link between the leisure centre and the new school.

·         Unforeseen (impossible until work commenced) BT diversionary works.

·         Additional landscaping.

·         The need for a Transport Assessment/Travel Plan.

·         Rather than Llantwit Major Comprehensive School lose two rugby pitches, works coordinated by our landscape architects resulted in the school only losing the equivalent of half a rugby pitch. 

11.        It is intended that a separate report detailing the finances on both projects will be submitted to a future Cabinet meeting. This is as per the requirements of Financial Regulations/Contract Standing Orders.

12.        The Vale is continuing to experience increasing growth in demand for places within Welsh Medium Education to the extent that pupil projections demonstrate that future reception intakes into Ysgol Nant Talwg for the foreseeable future will meet the capacity of the school i.e. 30 pupils per year group.

13.        Reception application numbers for Ysgol Dewi Sant are less certain although again these show continuing growth. Pupil projections show that extra classrooms will need to be added to the school to meet increased pupil numbers potentially in September 2013 although this is subject to final application numbers.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

14.        It is intended that the overspend at Ysgol Nant Talwg will be funded by the under spend at Ysgol Dewi Sant.

15.        Capital funding to provide additional accommodation at Ysgol Nant Talwg opening in September 2014 to meet increasing pupil numbers has been identified within the Revised Band A 21st Century Schools programme and approved by Cabinet on 16 November 2011 (Minute C1523). Designs for the school extension will need to be progressed during 2013/14 to meet the required timescale, discussions will be held with the Welsh Government regarding the possibility of funding towards the design phase.

16.        The Revised Band A 21st Century Schools programme identifies capital funding requirements to construct the final phase of Ysgol Dewi Sant opening in September 2016. The programme commences in April 2014, however funding will be required before the programme starts to construct two additional classrooms and extend the hall to meet increasing pupil numbers. Discussions will be held with the Welsh Government to determine the feasibility of bringing the Band A funding forward to contribute towards the additional classrooms potentially required for September 2013.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

17.        None from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

18.        None from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.        None from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

20.        The schemes assist the Council in achieving its corporate priority in relation to Lifelong Learning.

21.        The schemes support the aims and objectives set out in the Council's Welsh Education Scheme 2009-2014 and addresses specific actions therein.

22.        The schemes contribute towards the achievement of Education 2015 priorities.

23.        The schemes will contribute towards the Strategic Planning and Performance Service Plan objective to bring schools up to a standard fit for the 21st century, improve the learning environment and meet the demand for school places in the Vale.

Policy Framework and Budget

24.        This report is within the policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

25.        None.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

26.        Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Report of the Director of Finance, ICT and Property to Scrutiny Committee of 15th February 2011 (Minute 906)

Report of the Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning to Cabinet of 21st February 2011 (Minute C1228)

Report of the Leader to Cabinet of 18th January 2012 (Minute C1585)

Contact Officer

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Officers Consulted

Martyn Lewis (Group Quantity Surveyor)

Mark Haynes (School Organisation and Access Manager)

Responsible Officer:

John Maitland-Evans

Vale of Glamorgan Council, Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry CF63 4RU

Tel: (01446) 700111

 

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