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Proposal to establish a learning resource centre provision at Maesteg Comprehensive School

This consultation is now closed.

Don’t forget you can still have your say on improving council services by clicking here to join our citizens’ panel

 

Consultation Documents

Please click here for the decision.

Please click here for the final report.

Please click here for the statutory notice in respect of the proposal.

 

The proposal

It is proposed to establish a Learning Resource Centre at Maesteg Comprehensive School in order to meet the demand of the increasing number of pupils being diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder including the need for specialist provision for high-functioning pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at Key Stage 2, 3 and 4.  The consultation is to invite your views on the proposal to establish a Learning Resource Centre for 12 pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. 

The consultation exercise will seek the views of staff, parents, pupils, interested parties and the governing body as the first step in the statutory process.  If the proposals are supported they would come into effect on 1 September 2014.

 

What the proposal means in practice

The proposal if approved would mean that:

  • A new Learning Resource Centre would be established at Maesteg Comprehensive School in readiness for September 2014.

  • There would be a graduated intake of pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders into the Learning Resource Centre from September 2014. Admissions into the Learning Resource Centre would be decided upon through an Admissions Panel.

  • Currently, Key Stage 3 Autistic Spectrum Disorders provision is limited to one CARE (communication autistic resource education) Learning Resource Centre in the East locality of Bridgend at Bryntirion Comprehensive School.  The current Key Stage 2 CARE Learning Resource Centre is located at Llangewydd Junior School which is within the catchment for Bryntirion Comprehensive School.

  • The Key Stage 1/2 CARE Learning Resource Centre is in Llangynwyd Primary School which is in the catchment for Maesteg Comprehensive School. At Key Stage 2/3 transition, if these pupils need to access CARE provision, they have to travel to Bryntirion Comprehensive School.  The proposed Learning Resource Centre at Maesteg Comprehensive School would allow these pupils to remain in their locality and access secondary education alongside other pupils who live relatively close to them.

  • The Learning Resource Centre would be a dedicated room in the library area and a new room is to be created on the mezzanine level of Maesteg Comprehensive School.

  • The Learning Resource Centre would be an integrated part of the mainstream school, providing an appropriate environment in which pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders can develop and thrive within their peer group, have normal access to mainstream curriculum, where appropriate, and therefore reach their full potential.

  • The Learning Resource Centre would provide specialist learning facilities within the school.  It would also provide Autistic Spectrum Disorders specialist expertise to mainstream classes.

  • From the pupils’ point of view, they would have access to individual, small group and whole class experiences, as appropriate.  Their progress would be closely monitored and individual plans regularly reviewed. 

  • Other mainstream pupils at Maesteg Comprehensive School with Autistic Spectrum Disorders would also benefit from this proposal as it seeks to widen the specialist learning facilities within the school and provide expertise and advice to all staff.

  • Staff allocated to the Learning Resource Centre will be deployed by the Headteacher and Senior Management Team.

                                                                                           

Why has this proposal been brought forward?

In September 2006, Bridgend County Borough Council adopted a policy document which set out five key principles to inform the organisation and modernisation of our schools:

  1. Commitment to high standards and excellence in provision
  2. Equality of opportunity, so that all pupils can access quality learning opportunities, regardless of which school they attend
  3. Inclusive schools, which cater for the learning needs of all their pupils
  4. Community focused schools, where the school actively engages with its local community
  5. Value for money

The proposals relate, in particular, to principle two and three.  The Education Inclusion Strategy was agreed by the Council’s Cabinet in March 2009.

In December 2011, Cabinet received an update on the review of support and provision for the inclusion of children and young people with additional learning needs (ALN). 

In October 2013, Cabinet received a report seeking approval to consult formally with the parents, staff, and governing bodies of Blaengarw and Plasnewydd primary schools and other interested parties to close the Learning Resource Centres for pupils with moderate learning difficulties. The consultation papers outline the proposal to realign services in order to meet the demand of the increasing number of pupils being diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

The Council supports the principles that, when possible, children should be educated within a mainstream school environment and as near to their home as possible. The proposal to establish a Learning Resource Centre at Maesteg Comprehensive School would afford those children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, living in the North locality of the Bridgend County Borough to be educated locally. The Primary feeder school for the Maesteg Learning Resource Centre would be Llangynwyd Primary School where the Key Stage 2 Learning Resource Centre for Autistic Spectrum Disorders is already located.  This Learning Resource Centre is for eight pupils.

Another principle adopted by the Council is that decisions should be made more quickly by people who are closer to the project rather than ‘arm’s length’ arrangements. This way performance management is likely to be more effective.

 

What are the advantages if the proposal goes ahead?

Quality and standards in education

  • Outcomes (standards and wellbeing).

Pupils with additional learning needs achieve well, often above expectations.  In lessons and over time, most pupils make good or better progress in their learning.  They have good recall of knowledge and apply this well to new learning.  They have very good thinking and reasoning skills.  Pupils feel safe and very well cared for in school.  They respond well to an outstanding level of personal support.  Nearly all feel that they have someone to talk to if they need help.  Nearly all pupils have positive attitudes to learning and are keen to make progress.  This is having an exceptional impact on wellbeing and standards. 

Standards: Good 

The school’s performance is steadily improving in nearly all indicators at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  Performance is currently adequate overall in Key Stage 3, but good in Key Stage 4.  Over the last two years, all pupils left school with a qualification and a high proportion continued to full-time education after 16.  Nearly all pupils over the last three years have achieved the level 1 threshold by the end of full-time education at 16.  None of the pupils who left school at 16 are reported as being not in education, employment or training.

The pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Learning Resource Centre would benefit from these excellent outcomes.

  • Provision (learning experiences, teaching, care support and guidance and learning environment);


In nearly all lessons there are very good relationships between teacher and pupils and this leads to a calm and purposeful working atmosphere in lessons.  In many lessons, teachers have high expectations of pupils.  In these lessons effective planning means that all pupils are able to improve their own learning and make good progress.  Well-designed and executed learning activities sustain pupil interest throughout the lesson.  Pupils are challenged to think for themselves and work collaboratively with others.  The ways in which the school removes barriers to learning are outstanding.  The impact that the pastoral system makes on attendance, behaviour and performance is extensive.  The support for pupils with additional learning needs is extensive and ensures that pupils can succeed and move on to the next stage in learning.  The school is cohesive, safe and highly inclusive.

The pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Learning Resource Centre would thrive at Maesteg Comprehensive School.

  • Leadership and management (leadership, improving quality, partnership working and resource management);

    The headteacher and senior leaders have a clear vision for the improvement of standards, which has been successfully communicated to staff and pupils.  This has had a significantly positive effect on the promotion of shared values and high expectations, which has encouraged pupils to do their best.  This vision is also very well communicated with parents and the wider school community.

The school involves parents successfully in supporting their children’s wellbeing and progress.

The pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the Learning Resource Centre and their parents would be very well supported.

 

Risks

There are no current risks associated with this proposal.  The Learning Resource Centre will increase the expertise amongst the staff of Maesteg Comprehensive School to accommodate the needs of other pupils who are known to demonstrate Autistic Spectrum Disorder traits in the absence of a formal diagnosis.

 

Finance

The funding for the Learning Resource Centre would be funded through the mainstream school’s delegated budget, via the school’s formula allocation, and using a combination of the age-weighted  pupil unit (AWPU) element, plus a per place factor.

Funding levels would be derived from notional current staffing needs. If pupil numbers remain constant, then the cost of the provision would be largely unchanged. The number of places would be reviewed every three years, to enable staffing stability and to assist in school planning. The school would be given at least six months’ notice of changes. These proposed funding arrangements are similar to those implemented for secondary schools in 2013-2014, that were part of the annual consultation with governing bodies and the school budget forum on changes to the schools’ funding formulae. The funding for the set up costs would be £10,000, which will be coming from this year’s savings.

Since the proposals are largely related to governance, management and financial issues, it is proposed to implement them from 1 September 2014.

 

Details of the affected school

Maesteg Comprehensive School
Ffordd Dysgu
Maesteg
Bridgend
CF34 0LQ

The table below provides details of the September 2013 numbers on roll at Maesteg Comprehensive School and the figures recorded for the previous four annual censuses.

 

Jan-2010

Jan-2011

Jan-2012

Jan-2013

Sept-2013

Registered pupils – including dually registered

1117

1099

1079

1079

1121

Registered pupils – excluding dually registered

-

-

-

1075

1120

The following table provides a five year projection of pupil population for Maesteg Comprehensive School which is an English medium secondary school with a pupil capacity of 1333, graded as condition A.

Year

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Year 13

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

186

175

195

157

205

115

94

1127

2015

188

188

176

193

156

127

84

1112

2016

173

190

190

175

191

97

93

1109

2017

165

175

192

188

173

118

71

1082

2018

160

167

176

190

186

107

86

1072

Maesteg Comprehensive School is in category B within Central South Consortium’s system of categorisation of  school effectiveness.

 

Other considerations 

  • The alternative provision would be for these pupils to access their mainstream secondary school where there is unlikely to be any dedicated specialist staff.  The increasing numbers of diagnosed ASD pupils would create additional problems for all secondary schools.  Full integration into a mainstream comprehensive school would not meet the exceptional needs of these pupils.

  • Alternatively, these pupils could attend the current CARE Learning Resource Centre provision in Bryntirion Comprehensive School.  This serves the needs of pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders in the East locality.  This would mean that pupils would have to travel long distances and would not be able to be educated alongside friends and peers that they may associate with outside of school hours.

  • The proposal would reduce the journey times of pupils in the North locality who currently have to travel to Bryntirion Comprehensive School in the East locality.  The distance travelled would be considerably reduced.

Summaries of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) inspection reports relating to Maesteg Comprehensive School are included at Appendix A.

 

Impact assessment: community 

There is no significant negative impact on the community.

 

Impact assessment: equalities

As part of the overall process, the council has a duty to consider the implications of any proposal on all members of the local community who may be affected unfairly as a result of the proposal being carried out.

An initial impact assessment will be undertaken in parallel with the consultation process.  The outcomes and actions identified by this assessment will be included in a report to Cabinet on the consultation process.   

If you have any views on the potential of this proposal to affect any groups or individuals either positively or adversely, then we would welcome your comments as part of this consultation.

 

The consultation and statutory process

The consultation process will be completed by 21 May 2014 and the outcomes (which will be incorporated into the proposal where possible) will be reported to a Cabinet meeting on the 24 June 2014.  If there is a decision not to proceed, that will be the end of this proposal for the future and an alternative proposal will need to be sought.

If the decision is to go ahead, a statutory notice outlining the proposals would need to be published for a period of 28 days and any formal written objections at this public notice stage, Cabinet will need to consider the proposal. Cabinet could then accept, reject or modify the proposal. If there are no objections to the proposal, then it will go ahead subject to final approval by Cabinet.

The provisional timetable and procedure are as follows:

10 April - 21 May 2014 Consultation period where we welcome your views and observations on the proposal. Please note that responses to consultation will not be counted as objections to the proposal and that objections can only be registered following publication of the public notice.
24 June 2014 Consultation report to Cabinet on the outcomes of the consultation.
25 June 2014   Publish consultation report on BCBC website, hard copies of the report will be available on request.
27 June 2014

If agreed by the Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council, a public notice will be published and there will be a period of 28 days in which to submit any objections to the proposal in writing.

24 July 2014 End of public notice period. If there are no objections Cabinet can immediately decide whether to proceed or not. If there are any objections, an objections report will be published by 21 August 2014 and forwarded to Cabinet for their consideration and subsequent determination.

 

What do you now have to consider?

You are invited to consider the proposal and submit your views as to whether or not you support the proposal to establish a Learning Resource Centre for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders at Maesteg Comprehensive School.

 

How do you make your views known?

There will be consultation meetings held as detailed below for the different interested parties. You are invited to attend the relevant meetings where you can hear an explanation of the proposal, put questions and express any views or concerns you may have.

Venue: Maesteg Comprehensive School Date Time
School Council of Maesteg Comprehensive School 11 March 2014 2.30pm
Staff of Maesteg Comprehensive School 11 March 2014 3.30pm
Governing body of Maesteg Comprehensive School 11 March 2014 4.30pm
Parents of pupils at Maesteg Comprehensive School
and other interested parties
11 March 2014 5.30pm

If you have any further questions regarding this proposal, wish to put your views in writing, suggest alternative proposals or request a copy of the consultation report when published, please contact (using the attached proforma):

Corporate Director- Children
Children’s Directorate
Sunnyside
Bridgend
CF31 4AR

Please mark for the attention of Anne Whittome or e-mail anne.whittome@bridgend.gov.uk

All views must be received by no later than 21 May 2014.

 

Appendix A

Summary of Estyn, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales inspection of Maesteg Comprehensive School.

Estyn Maesteg 2012

Pro forma 

Proposal to establish a learning resource centre for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders at Maesteg Comprehensive School.

Name:  

Contact details: 

Are you (please tick)

School Governor                                    Parent/guardian

School pupil                                           School staff

Other interested party (please specify) 

Comments/suggestions/requests/questions:

 

This consultation is now closed.

Last Updated: 28/11/2014
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