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Proposal to amalgamate Betws Primary School and Tynyrheol Primary School

 

This consultation has 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 objections report.

Please click here for the final consultation report.

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

The purpose of this consultation

This consultation is to invite your views on the proposal to amalgamate Betws Primary School and Tynyrheol Primary School.

Those consulted will include staff, governors, pupils and parents of the school, members of the local community and any other interested parties.

This consultation process will run from 12th November 2013 to 24th December 2013.

The proposal

In order to amalgamate Betws Primary School and Tynyrheol Primary School, it is proposed to close Betws Primary School and Tynyrheol Primary School at the end of the summer term 2014 and open a single school on a split-site basis in September 2014 by utilising the existing school buildings in anticipation of new premises being ready for occupation on the current Betws site in September 2016.

In order to take this forward, it is necessary to carry out a consultation exercise with staff, parents, pupils, interested parties and the governing bodies as the first step in the statutory process.

What the proposal means in practice

Betws Primary School has an acting headteacher for the academic year 2013-14. Tynyrheol Primary School has a substantive headteacher but he is retiring at the end of the spring term 2014. This means that neither school would have a substantive headteacher in post and, in these circumstances when an amalgamation is also proposed, it is important to deal equitably with both schools, The proposal would, therefore, require the closure of Betws and Tynyrheol Primary Schools at the end of the summer term 2014 and the opening of a single school, operating on a split-site basis in the current premises in Betws and Llangeinor, from September 2014. The catchment areas for the two schools would become one. This split-site arrangement would operate until the new school was completed and ready for occupation in September 2016. In this way, a shadow governing body would be formed to appoint a headteacher for the one school to take up post in September 2014. A full governing body would also come into existence in the autumn of 2014. Both communities would be represented on the shadow governing body and be able to contribute to the planning and development of the new school. 

The proposal for Garw Valley South, English medium primary education, is to create a single, new 315 (4-11) place primary school to include Additional Learning Needs (ALN) provision and a nursery of 64 full time equivalent places (an amalgamation of the existing Betws and Tynyrheol Primary Schools) on the current Betws Primary School site which would, subject to the outcome of the consultations, Welsh Government approvals and planning permission, be ready for occupation in September 2016. There would be one headteacher and one governing body.

Why has this proposal been brought forward?

In September 2006, the Council adopted a policy of providing continuity of education from ages 3 to 11 where possible. In the same policy document, 5 key principles were set out 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 Policy and Planning Framework sets out 13 areas where the principles should be applied in practice. Those which are particularly relevant in the context of this proposal concern the size of primary schools (to ensure that “all Bridgend’s primary schools are large enough to make the full range of necessary provision”) and value for money, efficiency and effectiveness (“narrowing the gap between the most and the least expensive provision currently”).

There are currently 2 English-medium primary schools serving the Garw Valley South area.  One of these is in the village of Llangeinor and the other in Betws.  The school in Llangeinor, Tynyrheol Primary, has a capacity of 74 and the number on roll in September 2013 is 69 (4-11) which is projected to rise to 85 by 2021.  The school cannot be expanded on the current site to meet the demand for school places in the area, as the site is not large enough.  Also, the school is not suitable for delivery of today’s curriculum, has no playing fields, limited outdoor space, and is totally inaccessible to disabled pupils and visitors.  The condition of the school is graded ‘Poor’ (exhibiting major defects and/or not operating as intended) with an estimated £390,000 backlog of repair and maintenance.

Betws Primary is situated 1.7 miles from Tynyrheol Primary in the village of Betws.  The capacity of the school is 242 and the current number on roll is195 (4-11), which is projected to rise to 238 by 2021. The junior block at this school was destroyed by a fire in June 2012 and this section of the school is currently operating out of temporary demountable classrooms.  The nursery is in a standalone building and there is a separate infant block.  The infant block has numerous defects and is graded ‘Poor’ for condition (exhibiting major defects and/or not operating as intended).  The repair and maintenance backlog is estimated at £250,000.  The dispersed nature of the accommodation is causing major operational difficulties for the school.  The site also houses a Flying Start facility to serve the village of Betws.

This proposal is related to another of the Authority’s proposals, due to be consulted upon at the same time, which would see the relocation of Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw from Pontycymer to the Betws Primary School site. A  feasibility study, which was completed in 2012, demonstrated that the Betws Primary site is large enough to accommodate an English-medium primary school to serve the needs of the south of the Garw Valley, together with a Welsh-medium school to serve an extended north-east area of the county borough. It is proposed to build two new schools on the current Betws Primary School site, one to meet the English-medium primary school needs of the Garw Valley South and  one to meet the Welsh-medium primary school needs of an enlarged north-east area of Bridgend County.  Although separate schools are needed, there is the opportunity to explore some shared use of facilities, such as playing fields, which could be timetabled without compromising the necessary learning opportunities in the two schools, but would generate efficiencies for both schools in terms of provision and on-going maintenance.

As an alternative to the proposal, the Council could elect to ‘do nothing’ and not amalgamate the two provisions. However, the advantages detailed in the ‘What are the advantages if the proposal goes ahead?’ section below would then clearly not be realised. Also, the issues with the current accommodation could not be addressed.

Governing Body

The proposal would require the closure of Betws and Tynyrheol Primary Schools at the end of the summer term 2014 and the opening of a single school, operating on a split-site basis in the current premises in Betws and Llangeinor from September 2014. The catchment areas for the two schools would be merged to become one. This split-site arrangement would operate until the new school was completed and ready for occupation in September 2016. In this way, a shadow governing body would be formed to appoint a headteacher for the one school to take up post in September 2014. A full governing body would also come into existence in the Autumn of 2014. Both communities would be represented on the shadow governing body and be able to contribute to the planning and development of the new school. The shadow governing body will be responsible for proposing a name for the new school and this will need to be ratified by the Council. 

Staffing

The result of the proposal, should it go ahead, would mean that the staffing complement would definitely reduce by one headteacher post. For the rest of the teaching and also non-teaching staff, a determination of need is required for both the two year period when the new school would operate on a split-site and then for when the provision is all on the one site. The shadow governing body would need to devise a new staffing structure and consult with current staff at the two schools. The new structure would be determined primarily by the educational needs of the school and the budget available. The headteacher post would be advertised nationally but other posts in the new structure would be open only to those staff currently employed at the two schools. If they could not be filled from this pool of staff, only then would any posts be advertised externally to the schools.

What are the advantages if the proposal goes ahead?

Quality and standards in education

Outcomes (standards and wellbeing);

When Betws Primary School was last inspected in July 2011, standards were judged as good; relative to other schools, standards in many areas remain below the average for the local authority (LA), consortium and Wales. The school predicts that outcomes for pupils will fall this year and the school describes its performance in a number of key areas as adequate. Tynyrheol Primary School was judged to be good overall in its last inspection in November 2010. Standards have improved and compare well with outcomes in similar schools.  The reliability of performance data across a larger setting would be strengthened overall as a result of the new school. The key areas for improvement for both schools are similar as the socio-economic context is the same. Both schools have a similar focus on improving various aspects of literacy, numeracy and well-being, including attendance, which should be strengthened in a larger community setting.

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

The quality of teaching in Betws is described by the school in its self evaluation report as variable whereas in Tynyrheol teaching is described as good and some excellent. Teachers in both schools currently make the best use of the learning environment although both schools face challenges.  It is likely that provision, including the quality of teaching, would be improved through the inevitable sharing of good practice from both former schools and a modern facility.

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

Whilst leadership in Betws Primary had a positive effect on standards last year, the school is being led by an acting headteacher supported by a seconded deputy. There are a significant proportion of teachers on fixed term contracts which is unsettling and distracting for staff. This would be alleviated by a revised staffing structure for the new school whilst having no obvious detrimental effect on the staff from Tynyrheol, particularly as the current headteacher is retiring.

The likely effect, if the proposals were implemented, on the ability of the new school to deliver the full curriculum and raise standards in the foundation phase and key stage two would be positive.

Finance

The anticipated £6 million cost of the new school will be met from the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme, for which we have had approval in principle, and the Council’s capital programme as approved by Council in February 2012.  We will progress the necessary business case procedures in line with Welsh Government requirements during the development and design stages.

There would be a saving equivalent to one headteacher’s salary resulting from the proposal when compared with the status quo. There may be the opportunity to make some savings on other running costs but until such time as the headteacher has been able to assess the organisational changes needing to be made, it is not possible to quantify fully those future costs or savings.

The current cost per pupil at Betws Primary is £4007.
The current cost per pupil at Tynyrheol Primary is £4232
The new costs per pupil as an immediate consequence of the proposed amalgamation would be approximately £3000.

These recurrent savings are linked to the Council’s budget reduction savings identified in its Medium Term Financial Strategy.

Accommodation

The new school would provide modern facilities which would offer additional and flexible learning opportunities, indoor and outdoor, which are not open to both schools at present. It would be a safe environment and fully accessible to all children and adults, including those with disabilities. Being of up-to-date design and construction, the new building would also be environmentally “friendly” and have reduced running costs through energy saving measures being included in the design. The design would also allow the way the building was used over future years to evolve to meet the changing ways that children and adults learn.

What are the potential disadvantages if the proposal goes ahead?

Some parents may prefer to have their children educated at the existing school sites for various reasons. Children from Llangeinor would need to travel to the Betws site using the transport provided and this may increase their travel to school time. Children from Llangeinor would also not have the opportunity to walk or cycle to school. Some believe that a small school is better to meet the particular needs of their children and that a larger school will not offer the same level of personal attention. Parents have been used to dealing with two headteachers and this would obviously change if the proposal went ahead. A primary school is often viewed as being at the heart of the local community, especially where there are no other public buildings. The change to the social side of school life in Llangeinor could be seen as being detrimental to the community.

Details of schools

The proposal only directly affects Betws and Tynyrheol Primary schools and YGG Cwm Garw indirectly, and is not expected to affect other schools, the nearest being in Garw Valley North and the Valleys Gateway area

Betws Primary School
Betws Road
Bridgend
CF32 8YD

Tynyrheol Primary School
Heol Llangeinor
Llangeinor
Bridgend
CF32 8PN

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw
Hill View,
Pontycymer
Bridgend
CF32 8LU

 

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

 

Jan-2010

Jan-2011

Jan-2012

Jan-2013

Sep-2013

 

F/T

P/T

F/T

P/T

F/T

P/T

F/T

P/F

F/T

P/T

Betws Primary

210 25N

10

9N

204

26N

10

10N

219

27N

9

9N

224

26N

5

5N

220

26N

0

Tynyrheol Primary

77

8N

3

3N

84

15N

2

2N

80

10N

6

6N

76

9N

2

2N

79

10N

0

YGG Cwm Garw

151

25N

0

0N

149

19N

0

0N

147

21N

0

0N

157

25N

0

0N

154

15N

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following table provides a 5 year projection of pupil population for Betws Primary School which is an English Medium Community school with a pupil capacity of 242 graded as condition C (poor).

Year

Nursery 1

Nursery 2

Reception

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Total

 

2-3

3-4

4 - 5

5 - 6

6 - 7

7 - 8

8 - 9

9 - 10

10 - 11

2-11

2014

8

26

29

26

34

27

31

27

32

240

2015

8

26

32

30

27

34

28

32

27

244

2016

8

26

33

33

31

27

35

29

32

254

2017

8

26

29

34

35

31

28

37

29

257

2018

8

26

31

30

36

35

32

29

36

263

The following table provides a 5 year projection of pupil population for Tynyrheol Primary School which is an English Medium Community school with a pupil capacity of 74 graded as condition C (poor).

Year

Nursery 1

Nursery 2

Reception

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Total

 

2-3

3-4

4 - 5

5 - 6

6 - 7

7 - 8

8 - 9

9 - 10

10 - 11

2-11

2014

3

8

12

10

12

9

10

7

9

80

2015

3

11

10

11

10

12

8

10

7

82

2016

3

11

16

10

12

9

11

8

10

90

2017

3

11

14

15

10

11

9

11

8

92

2018

3

11

13

13

16

9

10

8

11

94

 

 

 

 

The following table provides a 5 year projection of pupil population for Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw which is a Welsh Medium Community school with a pupil capacity of 223 graded as condition C (poor). 

Year

Nursery 1

Nursery 2

Reception

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Total

 

2-3

3-4

4 - 5

5 - 6

6 - 7

7 - 8

8 - 9

9 - 10

10 - 11

2-11

2014

0

28

25

23

16

22

19

19

21

173

2015

0

23

28

25

22

16

21

21

17

173

2016

0

23

24

28

24

22

16

23

20

180

2017

0

23

25

24

27

24

21

17

22

183

2018

0

23

26

25

23

26

23

23

16

185

Should the proposals be implemented, the information set out below represents the pupil projections for the amalgamated school (pupil capacity 366 4-11), based on current early year’s policy.

Year

Nursery 1&2

Reception

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Total

 

2-4

4 - 5

5 - 6

6 - 7

7 - 8

8 - 9

9 - 10

10 - 11

2-11

2014

45

41

36

46

36

41

34

41

320

2015

48

42

41

37

46

36

42

34

326

2016

48

49

43

43

36

46

37

42

344

2017

48

43

49

45

42

37

48

37

349

2018

48

44

43

52

44

42

37

47

357

Land and buildings

The capacities of schools are calculated based on the Welsh Government Circular No 21/2011 ‘Measuring the Capacity of Schools in Wales’. The capacity of Betws Primary School is currently 242. Tynyrheol Primary School has a capacity of 74.

The quality of accommodation at both Betws Primary and at Tynyrheol Primary is considered ‘Poor’ (exhibiting major defects and/or not operating as intended).

Should the proposal go ahead, the current premises and sites of Betws Primary and Tynyrheol Primary would remain in use until the new premises become ready for occupation on the current Betws site in September 2016. Consequently, there are no immediate significant land transfers or disposals which need to occur as a result of the proposal. Upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in September 2016, the existing Tynyrheol Primary site would become surplus to requirements and disposal would be sought.  Any capital receipts would be reinvested in the School Modernisation Programme. The temporary accommodation on the Betws site would be relocated to meet the need for greater capacity elsewhere within the county.

Other considerations

The current premises and sites would continue to operate until the new premises become ready for occupation on the current Betws site in September 2016. Consequently, there are no changes anticipated to the accessibility of provision or to the learner travel arrangements during the two years of split-site operation unless there are any changes to the criteria for providing free transport., were the proposal to be implemented. Upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in September 2016 (the Betws site is situated 1.7miles from Tynyrheol Primary) pupils meeting the criteria will be provided with free school transport. Free school transport is currently provided in the BCBC area for walking distances greater than 1.5 miles via non-hazardous routes, though this may be subject to change. If a route is less than the distance which normally qualifies for free transport but is assessed as being unsafe, then free transport is provided. There is no bus currently transporting pupils to Tynyrheol Primary so there would be an additional transport cost of approximately £19,000 p.a.to convey Tynyrheol pupils to the Betws site on escorted transport. There are no school buses to the existing Betws Primary school.

Since the existing Tynyrheol Primary School has no playing fields and limited outdoor space, and is totally inaccessible to disabled pupils and visitors, it is anticipated that accessibility of provision will be significantly improved upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site.

The admissions authority for the proposed amalgamated primary school would be Bridgend County Borough Council. Admission arrangements would be as detailed within the Council’s ‘Starting School booklet – A Guide to Bridgend Council’s Policy & Admission Arrangements for Schools’.  The amalgamated school would be an English Medium 3-11 primary with an admission number of 45 utilising the existing accommodation at Betws and Llangeinor on a split site basis (until occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in September 2016).

The proposal will have no impact upon ALN provision. Although Betws Primary currently has a Hearing Impaired base with two pupils attending - no further pupils will go into the base up until 2016. The existing nurture class which caters for pupils with behavioural needs is the Local Authority (LA) provision for schools in Bridgend and would remain.

Summaries of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) inspection reports relating to Betws Primary School and Tynyrheol Primary School are included at appendix A and B for your information. The full inspection reports are available from the Estyn website.

Impact Assessment: Community

The school would continue to operate on its current sites until such time as the new premises become ready for occupation on the Betws site in September 2016, so no immediate effect on the community is anticipated. Upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in September 2016, the provision of modern and accessible community facilities will enhance provision in Betws. While the Richard Price Centre opposite Tynyrheol Primary School provides community facilities, there may be those in Llangeinor who believe that not having a school in the village will be a significant loss to the community. The consultation will allow interested parties to state what they see as the likely effects on the respective communities.

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 assessment has been made of the potential for inequality of opportunity arising from these proposals and a full equalities impact assessment will be undertaken in parallel with the consultation process. The outcomes and actions identified by this assessment will be included in and form part of the report to Cabinet on the outcomes of the consultation process. If you have any views on the potential of this proposal to affect any groups or individuals either positively or adversely in terms of equalities, then we would welcome your comments as part of this consultation.

The consultation and statutory process

The consultation process will be completed by 24th  December 2013 and the outcomes (which will be incorporated into the proposal where possible) will be reported to a Cabinet meeting early in the new year (7th January 2014).  If there is a decision not to proceed, that will be the end of this proposal for the foreseeable 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 would be invited during this time.  If there are 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:

12th November 2013 to

24th  December  2013

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.

 

31st December 2013

Publish Consultation Report on BCBC website; hard copies of the report will be available on request.

 

7th January 2014

Consultation Report to Cabinet on the outcomes of the consultation.

 

 15th January 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.

 

12th February 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 4th March 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 amalgamate Betws and Tynyrheol Primary Schools.

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 meeting where you can hear an explanation of the proposal, put questions and express any views or concerns you may have.

Venue: Betws Primary School

 

Date

Time

Meeting with the staff of Betws Primary School

26th November 2013

4.00pm

Meeting with the governing body of Betws Primary School

26th November 2013

5.15pm

Meeting with the parents of pupils at Betws School and other interested parties

26th November 2013

6.30pm

Meeting with the School Council of Betws Primary School

TBC

 

Venue: Tynyrheol Primary School

 

 

 

Meeting with the staff of Tynyrheol Primary School

19th November 2013

4.00pm

Meeting with the governing body of Tynyrheol Primary School

19th November 2013

5.15pm

Meeting with the parents of pupils at Tynyrheol Primary School

19th November 2013

6.30pm

Meeting with the School Council of Tynyrheol Primary School

TBC

 

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 pro forma):

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

Please mark for the attention of Ellen Franks, or e-mail ellen.franks@bridgend.gov.uk

All views must be received by no later than 24th December 2013.

Pro Forma - Proposal to amalgamate Betws and Tynyrheol Primary Schools 

Name:

Contact details:

Are you (please tick):         

School Governor                                   

Parent/Guardian                                                 

School Pupil                                

School Staff

Other interested party (specify)

Comment/suggestions/requests/questions: 

 

This consultation has now closed 

Last Updated: 09/05/2014
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