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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 21 January 2013

 

Report of the Chairman of the School Places Review Group

 

Recommendations of the School Places Review Group

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To request endorsement from Scrutiny (Lifelong Learning) Committee of the findings and recommendations of the School Places Review Group contained within the School Places Review report.

Recommendations

1.             That the recommendations of the School Places Review report be approved and referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To support the findings of the School Places Review Group and refer to Cabinet for consideration / approval.

Background

2.             One of the statutory functions of a local authority is to ensure that there are sufficient places for all pupils to ensure that there are the right numbers of schools of the right type and size and in the right locations to fully and efficiently meet the needs of the pupil population.

3.             The Council has regard to the Estyn report "How do surplus places affect the resources available for expenditure on improving outcomes for pupils?" The report asserts that reductions in surplus places result in better resource management and impact on school improvement and that Local Authorities should retain no more than 10% surplus places across primary and secondary schools.

4.             Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills, issued a statement to Cabinet Education Members across Wales on highlighting the principal priority of the current Welsh Government of improving school standards. The central theme of the minister's statement is the reduction of the number of surplus places as this represents a drain on resources.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             As reported to Scrutiny (Lifelong Learning) Committee on 15 October 2012 (minute 432 refers) the School Places Review Group was convened between September and December 2012. The group built on the work of previous member working groups to consider pupil and school data and determine if the current configuration of schools meets the educational needs of children in the Vale in the 21st Century.

6.             Membership of the School Places Review Group comprised:

Cllr N Hodges (Chair)

Cllr Ms R Birch

Cllr H Hamilton

Cllr R Penrose

Cllr E Williams

7.             The report of the School Places Review Group is attached as an and included under Part II of the agenda.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.             The Estyn report referred to above estimate the cost of surplus places as £260 per primary place and £510 per secondary place.

9.             Net savings achieved through the implementation of the recommendations from the School Places Review Group will be reinvested in schools.

10.        Capital receipts achieved through the implementation of the recommendations from the School Places Review Group are to be retained within the School Investment Programme.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

11.        The proposals contained within the School Places Review Report will contribute towards the Councils policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve sustainability of school provision.

 Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.        The Council will be in breach of its statutory obligations under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 if parental preference regarding choice of education cannot be provided.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        The recommendations within the School Places Review report will meet the forecast demand for education within the Vale.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.        The School Places Review report contributes towards the Lifelong Learning and Skills Improvement Objective 13 "To progress plans for the development of 21st Century Schools designed to deliver an innovative curriculum within a positive learning environment." Specifically the report addresses LL8 "Review proposals for schools in the Vale in terms of the 21st Century Schools Programme" of the Corporate Plan 2010 - 2014 revised December 2011.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.        Ward Member consultation has not been carried out as this is a Vale wide matter.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.        Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Mark Haynes                         School Organisation and Buildings Manager

Officers Consulted

Paula Ham                 Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Mike Matthews          Principle Strategic Planning Officer

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill                            Chief Learning and Skills Officer

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