Issue - meetings

School Modernisation Strategy

Meeting: 15/06/2015 - Education and Youth Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)

5 School Modernisation Reviews pdf icon PDF 64 KB

Additional documents:


            (a)       That the information outlined in the report be noted; and


(b)       That the views of the Committee be outlined in full at the Cabinet meeting scheduled for 16th June 2015. 



The Chief Officer (Education & Youth) introduced the report to update Members on the progress made with School Modernisation.


                        He provided a detailed presentation which covered the following areas:-


·         School Organisation

·         Longstanding Principles

·         Budget Context and principles

·         Current Budget

·         Big Budget Conversation – Summary

·         Further work for 2016

·         Changing Context

·         School Modernisation

·         Trigger Points for Review

·         Implementation Process

·         Schools Modernisation Funding

·         Implementation Plan


The Cabinet Member for Education spoke of the difficult position that the Council was in due to the severe austerity programme and to maintain the status quo was not an option.  He commented on the further cuts that were expected due to reductions in funding and of the need to ensure that the funding received was spent appropriately.  He felt that the proposals would not be a surprise to the schools concerned or to Members as the School Modernisation Strategy that included the triggers that were included in this report had been considered by Cabinet in January 2015.  The schools that had been suggested all met some of the criteria for review.  The Cabinet Member said that it was incumbent on Members of Cabinet to make the decision to commence informal consultation.  A target of a maximum of 10% surplus places had been set by Welsh Government and it was expected that Councils achieved this target.  He said that unfilled places had been an issue for a number of years and that there was a need to tackle the problem. 


Councillor Nancy Matthews said that there was no mention in the report of places for the displaced pupils and indicated that she had been advised that there were an insufficient number of places available.  She queried whether transport would be provided for the pupils who would need to attend a new school.  The Chief Officer had earlier spoken of neighbouring schools and Councillor Matthews queried what the distance between schools would need to be to class them as neighbours.  She spoke of school monitoring and asked about schools where leadership was a concern.  She said that the admissions policy should also be called into question and added that a school was the heart of a community regardless of the building that housed it.   


The Chief Officer (Education & Youth) said that the impact of change on the community was very much to the front of the minds of the decision makers.  On the issue of available alternative places, he advised that Cabinet would not be asked to authorise the review if there were not sufficient surplus places in neighbouring schools; this issue would be raised during the consultation period.  Transport would be provided in line with the Council’s policy and there was an expectation that for primary school pupils it would generally be for those who lived more than two miles from the school and for secondary school pupils it would be for those that lived more than three miles from the school.  The Admissions Policy was reviewed annually and the Chief Officer referred to one school mentioned in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5