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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 25th June 2012

 

Report of the Chief Executive

 

The Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20)

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Members of the Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (SIP) for the period 2012/13 to 2019/20.

Recommendations

1.             That Members consider The Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20) attached as Appendix A.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure Members are aware of The Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20).

Background

2.             The 21st Century Schools Programme was formally launched by the Welsh Government in March 2010 to support large-scale capital building projects across Wales with the aim of enhancing school buildings to meet 21st Century educational needs. 

3.             In line with Welsh Government requirements the Vale's 21st Century Schools Strategic Outline Programme (the original SOP) was submitted to the Welsh Government in December 2010 and at the time the Welsh Government was providing a 70% grant support intervention rate towards local authority school investment projects. 

4.             However, as reported to the Cabinet Meeting of 19th October 2011 (Cabinet Minute C1470 refers) in July 2011 the Minister For Education and Skills outlined in a written statement that Welsh Government contributions would be reduced to 50% and as a result local authorities across Wales were invited to review and prepare revised forward outlook programmes for school capital investments.  At the Cabinet meeting of 16th November 2011 (Cabinet Minute C1523 refers) a revised forward outlook programme for the Vale called the Revised Band A programme of projects was reported and approved for submission to the Welsh Government based on the lower 50% grant support from the Welsh Government.  The submission of the Revised Band A programme of projects was successful and in December 2012 a Conditional Offer was received from the Welsh Government (subject to the approval of business cases for each scheme and statutory approvals where applicable) for £10.48 Million of Welsh Government grant support towards the total cost of £20.96 Million, which will transform and enhance various schools in Llantwit Major and Barry.

5.             In addition to the Revised Band A projects as reported to Cabinet on 16th November 2011 the Council is anticipating to draw down up to £33,360,650 of Welsh Government grant funding for the Penarth Learning Community (PLC), which represents a 70% grant support rate as the Council successfully secured this grant under the former Tranche 3 (T3) of the 21st Century Schools transitional grant funding.  The PLC remains on programme and subject to planning construction should start on site during Autumn 2012.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.             In view of the above changes over recent years of the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools Programme and the differing grant support rates for the Penarth Learning Community and the Revised Band A projects a new School Investment Programme (SIP) has been prepared and is appended to this report. 

7.             The new SIP seeks to consolidate the recent history of Welsh Government funding for schools in the Vale of Glamorgan ranging from The Schools Building Improvement Grant (SBIG) (up to 2008), the 21st Century Schools Transitional Funding (from 2008 to 2010), followed by the launch of the 21st Century Schools Programme (from March 2010), outlines the Vale's original Strategic Outline Programme (SOP of December 2010), followed by summarising the reduction of Welsh Government funding under the 21st Century Schools Investment Programme (as mentioned above) leading to the Revised Band A programme of projects (of November 2011).

8.             For the Vale of Glamorgan area the SIP sets out in one document both the planned capital investments for large scale new build/remodelling school projects and also outlines the ongoing improvement and renewal of all schools in the area (i.e. Asset Renewal).

9.             Despite significant financial constraints the SIP reports a track record of successful project implementation over the past 5 years by the Council with the delivery of circa £46 Million of capital investments including the completed £22 Million remodelling of Cowbridge Comprehensive School and just over £2 Million invested in the feasibility and design of Penarth Learning Community. 

10.        Building on this success the SIP sets out a programme of new capital investment amounting to £74.73 Million for the period 2012/13 to 2019/20.  This includes (subject to statutory consents) the proposed implementation of Penarth Learning Community (a circa investment of £47.16 Million, the Revised Band A projects (a circa investment of £20.96 Million) and £6.61 Million earmarked for Asset Renewal.

11.        As explained in the SIP these major capital investments greatly improve access to high quality education, training and learning facilities within the Vale.  In addition the projects will also bring much needed wider regeneration benefits such as new and enhanced community facilities, and the creation of vital construction jobs and business supply chain opportunities.     

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

12.        The School Investment Programme is identified within the Council's Capital Programme.  As outlined in the appended SIP document the Council's match funding to the Welsh Government grant comprises General Capital Funding, Section 106 Monies, Schools Investment Strategy Reserve, Prudential Borrowing and contributions from other Councils.

13.        The SIP also refers to the possibility of capital receipts being raised from the disposal of land.  If capital receipts can be secured this will enable the Council to reduce its Prudential Borrowing and allow further projects to proceed. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        There are no legal implications from this matter.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.        There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.        There are no equal opportunities implications arising from this matter.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.        The School Investment Programme is a Corporate Priority and improving the learning environment is a key priority within Education 2015.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.        The School Investment Programme is a matter for Executive Decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.        Not applicable as this is a Vale wide matter.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

21st Century Schools Strategic Outline Programme - December 2010;

Vale of Glamorgan Revised Band A programme of projects - November 2011.

 

Contact Officer:

Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

 

Officers Consulted:

Sian Davies, Director of Finance, ICT and Property

Jane Wade, OM Property

Mark White, Major Projects Manager

Mark Haynes, School Organisation and Access Manager

 

Responsible Officer:

John Maitland Evans, Chief Executive