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Agenda Item No. 10

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 08 SEPTEMBER, 2014

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET:  14 JULY, 2014

 

C2396          PROPOSAL TO AMALGAMATE YSGOL GYFAN BRO MORGANNWG AND YSGOL GYMRAEG NANT TALWG (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

 

Approval was sought to consult stakeholders on a proposal to create a new 1,361 place 3-19 all through school through the amalgamation of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg.

 

On 18 February, 2014 the Chair of Governors and Headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg contacted the Council and requested that the schools be amalgamated, following a resolution of the full Governing Body on 27 November, 2013.

 

To make changes of this nature, a statutory process would need to be undertaken, including consultation with stakeholders.

 

The federation of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg  enabled the schools to benefit from the following:

  •  A consistent vision and shared values across the schools.
  • Shared professional learning community.
  • Consistent engagement with parents across the primary and secondary phase.
  • Expertise across the full age range.
  • Professional development opportunities for staff within a through school environment.
  • Increased focus on the key transitions particularly between Key Stage 2 and the secondary phase ensuring that gains in learning were built upon year by year with the minimum of disruption as the child moved through the learning structure(s). 

The Estyn Inspection of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg in 2009 described the school as 'a very good school with many outstanding features'; Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg had not been inspected.  Both schools were currently in category B for challenge and support from the Central South Consortium.  In 2013 Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg was in the Welsh Government's top banding group.

 

Although the schools were federated under a single Headteacher and Governing Body they continued to be two separate entities and this resulted in unnecessary and duplicated processes.

 

It was considered that the amalgamation of the two schools would provide a more effective framework to support the new school to build on the strong foundations already established through the Federation.

 

There were two options for amalgamating the schools. One option was to close both schools and open a new school which was the approach taken to the amalgamation of Llanilltud Fawr and Eagleswell Primary schools in Llantwit Major. A governing body for the new school would be established which would decide the staffing structure for the new school including appointment to the post of Headteacher.

 

An alternative option would be to discontinue one of the schools and change the age range of the other. For example, Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg could be discontinued and the age range of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg changed. The substantive Headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg who was also Head of the federated school would become the Headteacher of the new amalgamated school.

 

Following careful consideration of the two options it was proposed to follow the alternative option described in paragraph 12 of the report. Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg would be discontinued and the age range of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg extended to admit children from the age of 3. The capacity of the amalgamated school would be 1,361, with 210 places being allocated to the primary phase and 1,151 to the secondary phase. Pupils from other Welsh medium primary schools would continue to be admitted at year 7. This approach would provide continuity of leadership in terms of the Headship and governance of the school. Care would be taken to ensure that the strong transitional arrangements already established between Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and its feeder primary schools were maintained and further strengthened as a result of sharing learning and good practice emanating from the new all through structure.       

 

In order to amalgamate the two schools the Council would need to comply with the statutory process detailed in the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

 

A consultation document must be provided to all interested parties allowing a minimum of six weeks to respond, the consultation period must include a minimum of 20 school days. Meetings would be held during the consultation period to provide an opportunity for discussion and clarification.

 

Within 13 weeks of the closing date for the consultation period a consultation report would be published including a summary of comments received and the Council's response to these comments.

 

The Council must then decide whether or not to proceed with the proposal within 26 weeks of the end of the consultation period.

 

If following the consultation process, the Council decided that the amalgamation of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg was to be progressed, a statutory notice would 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.

 

If objections were received, an objection report must be published with a summary of the objections and the Council's response before the end of 7 days beginning with the day of its determination. Under the legislation as the proposal did not relate to 6th form education the Local Authority could determine the proposal if objections were received.

 

The Federation of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg would need to be formally dissolved and all stakeholders notified in accordance with The Federation of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2014 which required 125 days' notice (4 months) to be given.

 

Appendix A, as attached to the report, set out the anticipated timescale for this process.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T consultation be authorised from 22 September, 2014 for a period of 7 weeks on a proposal to create a new 1,361 place all through school through the amalgamation of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg by discontinuing Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and changing the age range of Ysgol Bro Morgannwg to admit children from the age of 3.

 

(2)       T H A T this report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) as part of the consultation process and for consideration.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To assess the level of support for the proposal to amalgamate Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg into an all through school on the existing site.

 

(2)       To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) was aware of and consulted upon the progress with school reorganisation.

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 14 July, 2014