Transforming Secondary Education in Barry
Establishing two new mixed sex secondary schools in Barry
On 06 March 2017 the Council's Cabinet determined the proposal to transform secondary education in Barry by closing the existing single sex English medium Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools and establishing two new mixed-sex, 11 - 18 English medium comprehensive schools on the current sites of Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools from September 2018.
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Names to be Agreed for New Schools
The two new mixed-sex secondary schools for Barry are set to be named Pencoedtre High School and Whitmore High School.
The names were chosen by pupils at the current Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools who will be transferring into the new schools in September as well as future pupils from the feeder primary schools.
Cllr Bob Penrose, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said: “It is important that the names give the new schools their own identity, a connection with the local area, and most importantly foster an immediate sense of recognition with pupils. That is why on Monday I will be recommending that we approve the choice of two excellent names that were developed and approved by pupils themselves. Those same pupils are now working on developing new school logos and uniform policies, with support from council and school staff.”
Student cluster groups for the Port Road Site, soon to be Whitmore High School, and the Merthyr Dyfan Road Site, which will become Pencoedtre High School, met with local historian and St Cyres Comprehensive School headteacher Dr Jonathan Hicks to develop ideas for names in November 2017. At the sessions the groups discussed the history of the school sites and surrounding areas, as well as Barry and the Vale as a whole, before taking part in workshops to develop potential names. Following these sessions a shortlist of names was presented to all pupils and staff and feedback on these then reported to the two governing bodies for consideration.
Dr Vince Browne, Executive Headteacher for the two new schools, said: “The pupils have chosen names that really highlight the ambition we all share for the new schools to be at the centre of their communities.
“Pencoedtre High School refers to area that the school is built on, where a large number of its pupils live. Pencoedtre Wood is also one of the largest areas of woodland in Barry and a Site of Special Scientific Interest so there is also a strong link with the natural environment that makes the Vale unique.”
“Whitmore High School makes a clear connection between the school and one of the most iconic features of Barry, particularly the western parts of the town that it will serve. Whitmore Bay means many things to many people but all of these are positive and the name will ensure positivity is one of the first emotions the new school’s name will evoke.”
With the names now set to be agreed sessions will begin to develop ideas for school logos, branding and uniform.
21st Century Schools Programme
On 10 November 2017 the Welsh Government announced that it was committed to supporting all of the projects proposed by local authorities, totaling £2.3bn of projects. This is subject to the approval of the full business cases for each individual project. The Council will now work closely with parents, staff, governors, pupils and the Welsh Government to develop the full business case for approval.
Barry Comprehensive School and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School have played an important role in the education of residents of the Vale of Glamorgan for over 40 years. The governing bodies of both schools would like to celebrate their legacy before they close in August 2018. We would like previous students and staff to share their memories of their school days. If you have an old school year book or photo, or would like to share a fond memory of your school days please get in touch. There will also be a display at the newly established Barry schools celebrating the past. In your email pleasw clarify which school you attended and when.
The first round of applications for secondary school places from September 2018 closed on 28 November 2017. At this early stage it is difficult to project pupil number as the allocation process is complex and will be completed over the coming months. However, initial numbers are very encouraging with 139 pupils identifying the Port Road Site as their preferred school and 141 pupils identifying the Merthyr Dyfan Road Site as their preferred school. This is a considerable increase from the position this time last year when each school had received just over 100 applications. The gender split of the first preference applications is as follows:
Gender split across new Barry Schools
| || Merthyr Dyfan Road Site|| ||Port Road Site || |
|| 1st Preference Applications
|| 1st Preference Applications
We would expect these numbers to increase over the coming months due to the following considerations:
- Oversubscription criteria applied in schools where the number of applications has exceeded their admission number
- Late applications received
- Allocation of places at schools that complete their own admissions process
Pupils currently in years 7-9 at Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive School were asked to apply for a place at one of the new mixed sex secondary schools from September 2018. Applications closed on 20 October 2017 with more than 700 applications received by the closing date. Since then the admissions team has been chasing the remaining 120 outstanding applications to confirm pupil numbers for the 2018/19 academic year. As it stands the applications received to date are broken down as follows:
| 2018/19|| Boys||%|| Girls||%||Total|
| Year 8
| Year 9
| Year 10
| 2018/19|| Boys||%|| Girls||%||Total|
| Year 8
| Year 9
| Year 10
The number of applications received has not exceeded the admission number for any year group. Therefore all first preference applications submitted up to 20 October 2017 will be allocated and confirmation will be issued by 15 December 2017. If you have any questions regarding admissions, please contact the School Access Team or visit the School Admissions webpages.
Executive Headteacher Appointed
Dr Vince Browne has been appointed as Executive Headteacher for the two new mixed sex secondary schools that will be established in Barry next year.
Currently headteacher at Llantwit Major Comprehensive School and Executive Headteacher at Llanishen High School in Cardiff, Dr Browne will now take on responsibility for all aspects of both new schools’ strategic management as well as pupils’ results. Read the article in full.
Temporary Governing Bodies Created
The proposal to establish two new schools on the current sites of Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools and a joint sixth form across both was approved on 6 March 2017. The current single sex schools will formally close at the end of August 2018.
The decision was taken following a lengthy programme of engagement with parents, pupils, staff, governors and other professionals and the Council is committed to continuing to involve as wide a range of people as possible. Two new temporary governing bodies have been created to help achieve this.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When would mixed sex education start in Barry?
The two new mixed sex schools will be established in September 2018 on the sites of the current Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive Schools. It is anticipated that the new school buildings on the existing Barry Comprehensive campus and the modernised buildings on the existing Bryn Hafren campus should be ready by September 2022, subject to funding.
Why do Barry and Bryn Hafren schools need to be closed?
In order to establish two mixed sex schools Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive single sex schools will need to be closed. There will be no time gap in the closure and the opening of the schools. As both of these schools will be new schools, each school has its own temporary governing body.
What does this mean for students currently attending Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools?
All students attending Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School at the time of the opening of the two schools will be guaranteed a place at their catchment school. Parents of children in years 7,8 and 9 in the school year 2017/18 will be asked to apply for a place at the new school of their preference from 15th September 2017. If there are surplus places at either of the schools, after all learners from the catchment area who have applied have been offered a place, other applicants will be admitted based on the criteria outlined in the Parental Guide to School Admissions. Further information on admission arrangements can be found on the dedicated Transforming Secondary Education in Barry Admissions webpage.
Will the new schools have a new name and uniform?
The new schools will each have a new name. A uniform for the two schools will be decided by the new governing bodies. It would be important for the governing bodies to consider current uniforms of both schools, the affordability of the new uniform and the phasing in of a new uniform.
What will the local catchment areas be for each school?
Currently, Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive Schools share the same catchment area. The new school on the Barry Comprehensive School site would largely serve the west of the town and the new school on the campus of Bryn Hafren the east. A list of street names linked to each new catchment area and a post code finder can be found on the Transforming Secondary Education in Barry consultation page
How do I apply for admission to the new schools?
Parents of children in years 7, 8 and 9 in the school year 2017/18 will be asked to apply for a place at the new school of their preference from 15th September 2017. Further information on admission arrangements can be found on the dedicated Transforming Secondary Education in Barry Admissions webpage. Parents of year 6 students in the school year 2017/18 will be asked to apply for a place at a secondary school from 28th September 2017. Further information on secondary admission arrangements can be found on the admissions webpage.
What will happen to my child if they are due to sit their GCSE’s in 2019?
Pupils who are in year 10 in the school year 2017/18 will continue in their existing single sex year group based in their current location for their final year of GCSE.
What will happen to my child if they are due to sit their AS or A2 exams in 2019?
Pupils moving into their A2 year (Year 13) in September 2018 will remain in their current class. Pupils who are starting the first year of A level (Year 12) will join the new joint 6th form. Pupils who are in Year 11 in the spring of 2018 will choose their Post 16 options at this point.
Will transport continue to be provided?
With the changes to catchment areas there will be a review of pupils’ eligibility for school transport. All pupils should live within 3 miles walking distance of their catchment school, with the exception of pupils living within Rhoose and Heol Collen, Parc Y Gwenfo. Only 37 pupils who live further than 3 miles walking distance from their catchment school will be eligible for free school transport. Children who choose to and are accepted to attend any other school apart from their catchment school or nearest school will not be eligible for free school transport.
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