Expanding Primary Provision in Cowbridge (phase i)
Consultation on the proposal to meet the increased demand for English medium primary education in Cowbridge from September 2022.
Introduction to the proposal
On 4 November 2019, the Council’s Cabinet approved a phased approach to expanding primary provision in Cowbridge with an expansion of English medium provision being delivered as part of phase one and Welsh medium primary provision being expanded as part of phase two. This is to meet increased demand as a result of recent and proposed housing developments.
The Council considered a range of sites to deliver both phases; with the Cowbridge Comprehensive Site being identified as the preferred site for the English-medium expansion and the Darren Farm site for the Welsh-medium expansion.
The Council previously consulted on a proposal to increase English-medium primary capacity by establishing a 3-19 all-through school on the Cowbridge Comprehensive School site to accommodate 420 primary places with an additional 96 part time nursery places. This would have resulted in the existing Y Bont Faen Primary School being discontinued, with all staff and pupils transferring to the all-through school.
The Council notes the concerns raised by staff, governors, parents and members of the community to the previous proposal and as such has fully explored the alternative approaches available to deliver the required capacity.
The Council has identified an alternative approach that would meet future demand for English-medium primary education, whilst also addressing a number of concerns submitted as part of the consultation exercise.
On 9 March 2020, the Council’s Cabinet authorised the Director of Learning & Skills to undertake consultation from 16 March 2020 to 1 May 2020 on a revised proposal to meet the increased demand for English medium primary education in Cowbridge.
Cowbridge Comprehensive School advised the Council that it would be suspending all formal education from 23 March 2020 due to implications associated with the ongoing COVID-19 virus. The consultation remained open during this period and consultees were able to submit feedback using the online form or the response form contained at the end of the consultation document. In person drop-in sessions and meetings with the school’s council and governing body were suspended, consultees were able to submit any queries to the 21st Century Schools team via email or phone. The frequently asked questions section on the website was updated throughout the consultation to reflect queries raised.
Therefore, the Council is relaunching the consultation period to ensure school stakeholders and the local community are able to make their views known. Any responses received during the period in which the consultation remained open (from 16 March 2020) will be kept and integrated into the consultation report along with any responses received within the new consultation period.
It has been brought to our attention that some parents/carers of pupils attending Cowbridge Comprehensive School did not receive the email issued on 9 September to advise of the new consultation end date of 18 October 2020. To ensure all parents/carers have the opportunity to fully consider the proposal we have extended the consultation end date which will now be 23 November 2020.
The consultation closed on the 23 November 2020 on the revised proposal to increase the number of primary school places in Cowbridge from September 2022 by;
- Changing the age range of Cowbridge Comprehensive School from 11 - 19 to 3 - 19;
- Increasing the capacity of Cowbridge Comprehensive School from to 1,586 places to 1,796 places to accommodate 210 English medium primary school places with an additional 48 part-time nursery places; and
- Constructing a new school building on the Cowbridge Comprehensive School site to accommodate the primary and nursery places.
(Y Bont Faen Primary School would not be subject to this proposal and would remain on its existing site with its existing capacity.)
On 22 March 2021, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Cabinet considered the objection report and all other relevant documentation and determined to approve the proposal.
This proposal will result in an additional 210 English medium primary school places and 48 part-time nursery places in Cowbridge. A new self-contained building will be constructed on the Cowbridge Comprehensive School site to accommodate the primary and nursery phases.
If you would like a hard copy of the reports, please contact a member of the 21st Century Schools Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Why establish an all-through school?
An all-through school is an education model which combines more than one stage of a child’s education in a single education establishment. In this context, it would see both the primary and secondary education phases being managed as a single school.
As outlined above, the key driver for this proposal is to meet future demand for English medium primary education in Cowbridge as a result of existing and proposed housing developments. The Cowbridge Comprehensive School site was identified as the preferred site to deliver the increased capacity. The Council considered other examples in the area where multiple education phases share a single site, such as Llantwit Learning Community and Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg. The all-through school model provides additional opportunities in terms of greater collaboration, enhanced facilities, improved transition and consistent site management.
Would there be a new headteacher?
The headteacher of Cowbridge Comprehensive School would become the headteacher of the all-through school and would be responsible for all education phases.
Although all education phases are managed as a single establishment, the primary phase would still have a leader (in previous models this has been a head of primary phase) and would be accommodated in a separate building designed specifically for primary pupils.
The governing body of Cowbridge Comprehensive School would be responsible for developing a staffing structure for the school. Any proposed changes to staffing would be subject to full consultation with staff and the relevant trade unions where necessary.
What would the admission arrangements be for the 3-19 all-through school?
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is the admission authority for community schools. The admission number for the September 2022 reception intake would be 30 pupils. The School would also offer 48 part-time nursery places from September 2022. Pupils would not be admitted to Year groups 1-6 at the time of opening. The primary phase would grow and admit pupils to these year groups over a seven-year period. This limits the impact of new school provision on neighbouring schools and allows stable growth of a new school. At secondary phase pupils would naturally transfer from year 6 to year 7 without applying for a place.
Would this proposal impact on secondary admissions for Cowbridge Comprehensive School?
As outlined above, pupils from the primary phase of the all-through school would naturally transfer from year 6 to year 7 without applying for a place. The existing capacity of Cowbridge Comprehensive School is deemed suitable to meet the increased demand for secondary education within the catchment area. Even though Cowbridge Comprehensive School is regularly oversubscribed, the school attracts a large number of applications from outside the catchment area. In September 2019, only 151 (63%) of the 240 pupils allocated a place were from within the catchment area. Of the 1,539 pupils currently on roll at Cowbridge Comprehensive School, only 960 (62%) reside within the catchment area. This means 579 (38%) pupils on roll currently reside outside the school’s catchment area. Therefore, this proposal would result in a more efficient supply and demand of secondary school places within the Cowbridge Comprehensive School catchment area.
What options are available for parents wanting Welsh medium education?
Ysgol Iolo Morganwg and Ysgol Dewi Sant are Welsh-medium primary schools serving the Western Vale. Existing Welsh medium primary provision is sufficient to meet anticipated demand for Welsh medium education in this area over the next 5 years. On 4 November 2019 the Council’s Cabinet approved a phased approach to expanding primary provision in Cowbridge with English medium capacity being addressed as part of phase one and Welsh medium capacity being addressed as part of phase two. To ensure continuity across key stages, it is proposed that the English medium expansion would be delivered on the Cowbridge Comprehensive School site whilst the Welsh medium expansion would be delivered utilising the 2-hectare site on Darren Farm.
What would the new school building design entail?
The new school building would be a self-contained two-form entry primary (i.e. physically separate from the existing comprehensive on the proposed site). The design would meet Building Bulletin: 99 requirements which include criteria for classroom size and outdoor provision. Previous primaries delivered by the 21st Century Schools programme within the Vale of Glamorgan include Ysgol Y Ddraig (also a two-form entry), Ysgol Dewi Sant, Ysgol Nant Talwg (now the primary phase of Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg), and Oak Field Primary School. Further details and photos can be found on the main 21st Century Schools webpage: 21st-Century-Schools
How would we be involved throughout the design process?
A programme of engagement would be devised to ensure all stakeholders are informed of progress and are able to feed into the design process. There would be regular meetings between the Council, contractor and school. Any feedback or thoughts can be sent to the 21st Century Schools Team on: email@example.com
Has the consultation ended as a result of COVID-19?
The consultation has remained open since it was launched on 16 March 2020. Due to the closure of all schools within the Vale of Glamorgan, the consultation period has been extended. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consultees have been able to submit feedback using the online form or by returning a completed response form.
Will the consultation still end on 1 May 2020?
On 19 March 2020, the Council wrote to prescribed consultees to advise that the consultation period had been extended as a result of school closures. The consultation was open ended until a new end date could be determined. The consultation is now due to end on 23 November 2020.
Will the Council arrange community drop in sessions to support the consultation?
Community and parent drop-in sessions would normally be held to support the consultation. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation it is not feasible to hold these sessions. However, you can contact a member of the team at any time during the consultation with any queries using the contact details provided below. We will also update the webpage FAQs with frequent queries and responses.
Completed 21st Century Schools in the Vale of Glamorgan
(Oak Field Primary School, 2015)
(Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, 2014)
(Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, 2015)
(Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, 2015)
Find out more about some of the 21st Century Schools built so far in the Vale of Glamorgan: