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Agenda Item No. 8











Approval was sought to consult stakeholders on a proposal to reconfigure primary provision in the Western Vale through the creation of a new 210 place primary school, with a 48 part time place nursery class at the land north of the railway line, Rhoose, and the migration of staff and pupils from Llancarfan Primary School into the new site.


Llancarfan Primary School comprised the original Victorian school building containing two classrooms. The school was on a small site (slightly offset by the use of the adjacent tennis club courts) with difficult and congested access through the village and lanes leading to Llancarfan. The four separate buildings and small sloping site did not meet 21st Century School design guidance standards for primary schools which had been used for all new builds completed through the 21st Century Schools programme. These schools comprised a fully accessible one or two storey building providing all the required educational functions within a single building set in grounds meeting current outdoor curriculum needs.


Llancarfan Primary School had a pupil capacity of 126. The school was currently operating with a surplus capacity of 19 places (15%). This capacity was set to increase to 28 places (22%) as demonstrated by pupil projections in the report. The Vale of Glamorgan had made a commitment to Welsh Government to reduce the number of surplus places in schools. Within the primary sector, this equated to an agreed target of 10%. Llancarfan Primary School incured a high revenue cost per child at £4,490 per child compared to the Vale average of £3,697 per child. Llancarfan was the 5th highest primary school in terms of revenue cost per child. The majority of pupils attending Llancarfan Primary School resided outside the catchment area.


The Council’s adopted Local Development Plan (LDP) (2011-2026) attached at Appendix A to the report, Policy MG1, allocated a total of 787 new dwellings in Rhoose over the LDP period. The allocations comprised 87 dwellings at land south of the Railway Line, and 700 new dwellings at land north of the Railway Line. The allocation to the south of the Railway Line had been completed and was now fully occupied with children in the school system (planning reference:  2012/00937/FUL).


In accordance with the Section 106 Agreement dated 14 May, 2015 associated with the planning permission, the developers of land to the north-west of the Railway Line, Taylor Wimpey, were required to transfer a one-hectare site to the Council, for the provision of a primary school. A one hectare site could facilitate a 210 place school. In accordance with aforementioned Section 106 Agreement, the Council was also covenanted within 5 years of the date of the transfer to have secured planning permission for a primary school on the school site and thereafter completed the construction of the school within 5 years of obtaining planning permission.


It was anticipated that the development completed at land south of the Railway Line, and the developments at land north-west and north-east of the Railway Line would increase demand in the area by an estimated 70 places for nursery age children, 194 places for primary age children of which 162 children were likely to require English medium provision and 174 places for secondary age children.


The majority of children attending Rhws Primary School resided within the Rhoose area.


The Council had a statutory duty to review the number and type of schools in the area and to make the best use of resources to raise standards in schools. Based on current projections by 2023 there would be an anticipated shortfall of 90 primary school places in the Rhoose area. There was a need to accommodate this demand, however a new 210 place school (which was the minimum size for a school to be efficient), would result in 10% surplus capacity, when considering the projected increase in pupils numbers from both new developments in Rhoose, in addition to the projected pupil numbers that would migrate over from Llancarfan Primary School. Reviewing the wider needs of the Western Vale offered an opportunity to establish a new 21st century school while addressing community need and surplus capacity challenges.


Llancarfan Primary School wass situated 3.7 miles from Rhws Primary School. The projected number on roll at Llancarfan Primary School for 2023 was 98 pupils with 28 (22%) surplus places.


Rhws Primary School was a grade 2 listed building. The school site was restricted in size and potential for further development opportunities were limited, and would not be able to accommodate the total projected increase in demand for pupil places. Llancarfan was a small rural school with an admission number of 18. Mixed age teaching was therefore necessary in managing classes with associated difficulties in terms of the planning and delivery of the national curriculum. An admission number of 18 with mixed age classes also made it difficult to manage statutory class size limits of 30. Migrating the school to larger accommodation with a new catchment with sustainable numbers would enable the school to continue its success while catering for a greater pupil population.


In order to meet future demand, ensure best use of resources and reduce overall surplus capacity in line with Welsh Government targets, the report proposed to migrate Llancarfan Primary School to a new, larger 210 place school in the Rhoose Point development. Catchment areas would be redefined to distribute the current catchment area of Llancarfan school amongst Rhws, Llanfair, St Athan and St Nicholas Primary schools, and to also realign existing catchment areas in Rhoose.


Migrating the school would address a number of challenges: 

  • The staff and pupils at the existing Llancarfan site would benefit from a new school build at 21st century school standards.
  • Increasing amounts of surplus capacity at Llancarfan School would be addressed.
  • Increasing demand for pupil places within the Rhoose area would be met.
  • Revisions to catchment areas within the Western Vale were expected to increase pupil numbers at other schools, improving future sustainability and contributing to the Council's commitment to reduce surplus capacity in its schools.
  • Small site issues associated with the school on a confined site such as the provision of outdoor sporting facilities.
  • Congested access to the school through the village and lanes would be addressed.
  • A nursery would be established supporting continuity and progression in children’s learning from age 3 and would support stability of numbers for the school.

Any proposed changes to catchment boundaries would be included as part of the consultation exercise undertaken on the proposal together with the admissions consultation exercise to be undertaken in 2020 for the academic year 2021/22. Details of proposed catchment changes were attached at Appendix B to the report.


Careful planning and management of the option with the governing body of Llancarfan would be necessary to mitigate the challenges of pupils moving to the area between 2018 and 2021 and any transitional arrangement, ensuring no disadvantages to pupils moving to a new school or negative impact on the good performance of Llancarfan Primary School.


In order to transfer a school more than 1 mile and expand by 25% or more, there was a statutory obligation for public consultation. Anticipated timescales for this process were included in Appendix C attached to the report. This timescale was subject to change.


At the meeting, the Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Leisure queried if, as part of the consultation, the Council would consider and publish the views of parents from each Primary School separately as he was concerned that the different sizes of the Llancarfan and Rhoose communities would adversely affect the smaller group of consultation responses.


In response, the Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture commented that all responses to the Consultation would be collected and presented together, however individual responses based on location would be considered. The Director of Learning and Skills confirmed that the location of consultees was asked, but not always included in responses. The Director also noted that a significant number of Llancarfan Primary School pupils lived outside the catchment area in Rhoose, which would complicate dividing responses by location.


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 Learning and Culture, be authorised to undertake consultation from 5 March, 2018 for a period of seven weeks on the proposal to establish a 210 place primary school, with a 48 part time place nursery class at Rhoose Point, and the migration of Llancarfan Primary School into the new site.


(2)       T H A T it be noted the implementation of the proposal would be subject to the relevant statutory processes and that investment would be subject to the availability of capital funding from Welsh Government.


(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee for their consideration as part of the proposed consultation process.


Reasons for decisions


(1)       To comply with the requirements of the Schools Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.


(2)       To ensure Members were aware of the views and comments of those consulted when deciding whether or not to publish a statutory notice in due course and of the scheme's dependency on Welsh Government match funding.


(3)       To ensure that the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee was consulted on the proposal.





Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 22 JANUARY 2018