Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING): 11 JANUARY 2016
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 14 DECEMBER 2015
C3020 PROPOSAL TO AMALGAMATE CADOXTON NURSERY AND CADOXTON PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND EXTEND THE AGE RANGE OF CADOXTON PRIMARY SCHOOL FROM 4 TO 11 TO 3 TO 11 YEARS (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -
Approval was sought to consult stakeholders on a proposal to create a 3 to 11 year primary school through the amalgamation of Cadoxton Nursery and Primary schools.
A report requesting approval to consult on the amalgamation of Cadoxton Nursery and Primary Schools was considered by Cabinet on 19 October, 2015. At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools tabled a statement from the Chair of Governors of Cadoxton Nursery School, and in light of the tabled information the report was deferred for further consideration of the proposal. The report had been revised in response to comments put forward in the statement.
Over the past 10 years the Council had sought to move towards a primary school model for 3 to 11 years education by amalgamating separate infant and junior schools where there had been an opportunity to do so. Cadoxton Primary School was established from the amalgamation of the infant and junior schools in 2002. At that time it was decided that the nursery should not be included as part of this process of amalgamation. In the light of experience in other primary schools which had nursery classes, the development of the Foundation Phase curriculum and continuing pressures on the schools budget, the report reconsidered this decision.
The proposal would provide the following potential benefits:
The establishment of a single leadership team and governing body would result in the removal of duplication of management and governance functions.
The streamlining of management and administrative functions, as well as the ability to arrange joint contracts and service level agreements for building and other support services would result in available funding being utilised more effectively.
Duplication of specialist posts such as Additional Learning Needs Coordinator and Child Protection Officer would be removed enabling more effective use of resources.
Where parents had children of both nursery and primary ages, amalgamation of the nursery and primary school would make it easier to engage with parents. Parents would only need to familiarise themselves with one set of policies and one set of communications.
An amalgamation would enable strengths present in the existing separate schools to be combined and contribute to the already high quality provision offered at both schools. A consistent education philosophy would be put in place for children for up to 9 uninterrupted years of education, thereby minimising the potential for disruption during transition from nursery to the school.
There would be consistent behaviour management strategies resulting in clear expectations and a shared ethos which was understood by children, parents and carers throughout the primary and early years' stages.
The provision for pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) would continue to be identified at an early age as it was in the nursery school. The proposal would support a coordinated approach to planning for the needs of vulnerable pupils across the Foundation Phase.
The proposal would provide staff with continuing professional development opportunities by enabling them to gain experience in an ‘all through’ Foundation Phase and key stage 2 thereby improving their career options.
The report reviewed options for amalgamation and considered that there were more advantages in securing the amalgamation by extending the age range of one school and discontinuing the other because it would minimise the disruption in relation to the governance, leadership, staffing and policy at one school.
The Welsh Government School Organisation Code stated that the Local Authority had to “act in accordance with the Code” as determined by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. Section 48 of the 2013 Act required that before school organisation proposals were published, a consultation document had to be distributed to prescribed consultees and Welsh Ministers. The consultation document would be provided to all interested parties and allowed a minimum of six weeks to respond. The consultation period had to include a minimum of 20 school days. Meetings would be held during the consultation period to provide an opportunity for discussion and clarification. Appropriate consultation would take place with prescribed consultees and a range of individuals, the details of which were attached at Appendix A to the report.
This was a matter for Executive decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T the Director of Learning and Skills, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools, be granted delegated authority to undertake consultation from 4 January, 2016 for a period of 6 weeks on the proposal to amalgamate Cadoxton Nursery and Primary Schools by:
Extending the age range of Cadoxton Primary School from a 4-11 to a 3-11 years school; and
Closing Cadoxton Nursery School.
(2) T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for its consideration as part of the proposed consultation process.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To comply with the requirements of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.
(2) To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) is consulted on the proposal.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 14 DECEMBER 2015
Attached as Appendix - Consultation Document