Agenda Item No. 3
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL MEETING: 22 JULY 2015
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 29 JUNE 2015
C2826 REQUEST TO USE THE PROJECT FUND TO CONSTRUCT
A NEW RECEPTION AND EXPAND 6TH FORM PROVISION AT COWBRIDGE COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – LEARNING AND SKILLS AND CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
Approval was sought for the use of funding from the Project Fund to construct a new reception at Cowbridge Comprehensive School to improve pupil safeguarding on site and to expand 6th form provision.
The new Cowbridge Comprehensive School opened in September 2010. Following close collaboration with the previous Head Teacher it was agreed that the school should have an open design. The reception was located in the main teaching block at the rear of the site and was accessed across an open plaza used by staff and children during breaks and lesson changes. In addition, once access was gained to the visitor's car park individuals could access all areas of the school site without having to report to reception.
The child safeguarding issues resulting from this open design were raised during the latest Estyn inspection of the school. The school's existing procedures were currently managing the risks as far as practicable but physical alterations to the buildings were required to reduce these safeguarding risks to an acceptable level. The school had already relocated the visitors' car park and the new reception would be adjacent to this. Through this relocation of the reception area it would be easier to monitor visitors access to the school site and remove the uncontrolled access for visitors through the plaza used by children during the day.
6th form numbers at Cowbridge Comprehensive had increased from 312 in September 2013 to 360 in September 2014 and were projected to be 406 in September 2015. Due to increasing numbers of 6th form pupils there were inadequate study areas in the school resulting in some pupils leaving site between lessons with the potential for a detrimental impact on their learning opportunities. The additional 6th form study area would provide a flexible space for pupils allowing them to stay on site during the day and it was anticipated that learning outcomes would improve.
Following a full assessment of the existing site layout and child safeguarding issues the school had appointed an architect to design a new reception block and extend the 6th form study area. These designs received planning consent in March 2015. The estimated cost of the proposal was £300,000.
If funding was approved, the building work would be carried out during the 2015 summer holidays. As Council approval was required to include the scheme in the Capital Programme, Cabinet was asked to authorise the use of article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (urgent decision procedure) to enable works to proceed immediately.
At the meeting the Leader referred to paragraph 9 of the report and requested that it be amended to include, that Cowbridge Comprehensive School would pay Circa £50,000 per annum into the project fund to take into account interest payments.
This was a matter for Executive and Council decision
(1) T H A T the use of £300,000 from the Project Fund to construct a new reception at Cowbridge Comprehensive School and expand 6th form provision with repayment of this sum, and the appropriate level of interest, by the school over a 6 year period, be approved and the report be referred to a special meeting of the Council before the recess for approval.
(2) T H A T the use of article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised to present the report to a special meeting of Council before the recess and in sufficient time to enable the works to be undertaken during the 2015 school summer holidays.
(3) T H A T the use of article 13.09 in resoulutions 1 and 2 above be reported to Council in line with article 13.09 (c) of the Council's Constitution.
Reasons for Decisions
(1) To allow the construction of a new reception to improve pupil safeguarding on the school site by directing visitors away from the main pupil areas as well as meeting increasing demand for 6th form education at the school.
(2) To amend the Capital Programme pursuant to article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution, in sufficient time to enable the works to be undertaken during the 2015 school summer holidays.
(3) To comply with the Council's Constitution.
Attached as Appendix - Report to Cabinet: 29th June 2015