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Proposal to amalgamate Pontycymer Nursery and Ffaldau Primary 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 statutory notice in respect of the proposal.

Please click here for the final consultation report.

The purpose of this consultation

This consultation is to invite your views on the proposal to amalgamate Pontycymer Nursery and Ffaldau 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 4th November 2013 to 16th December 2013.

The proposal

In order to amalgamate Pontycymer Nursery and Ffaldau Primary School, it is proposed to close Pontycymer Nursery as a separate establishment and change the character of Ffaldau Primary to a 3-11 school. The nursery would continue to operate on its current site until such time as the nursery provision can be accommodated on the same site as Ffaldau Primary. Provision in the area of Garw Valley North will be subject to review as part of the 21st Century Schools resubmission to Welsh Government.

In order to take this forward, it is necessary to carry out a consultation exercise with staff, parents, pupils, interested parties and the governing body as the first step in the statutory process. If carried through to completion, Pontycymer Nursery would close as a separate establishment on August 31st 2014 and Ffaldau Primary would become a 3-11 school on September 1st 2014.

What the proposal means in practice

The proposal, if approved, would mean that:

• the current premises and site of Pontycymer Nursery would remain in use and continue to provide the nursery age element of provision, albeit managed as part of Ffaldau primary school;

• there would be one headteacher;

• there would be one governing body, that being Ffaldau Primary governing body;

• the budget for Ffaldau Primary would be increased to fund the costs of extending its provision to include a nursery class; overall there would be a saving on the cost of operating two separate schools.

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”).

The policy of creating all-through primary provision for 3 to 11 year olds has been followed through successfully to the extent that currently Pontycymer is the last nursery school remaining in Bridgend County Borough. Ffaldau is the only primary school without its own nursery provision.

There is no substantive headteacher in Pontycymer Nursery, although the acting headteacher has been in post for several years. It is opportune to now regularise the management arrangements for the school and to bring greater continuity to the educational experience of these very young pupils by creating all through provision under the management of one headteacher, albeit on separate sites.  

Pontycymer Nursery School is situated 900 metres from Ffaldau Primary School, which currently has no nursery provision. There were 30 pupils on roll (24 full time and 6 part time) at the Nursery in January 2013 and in September 2013 there were  20 full time pupils on roll with a further 7 part time due to start in January 2014.

As an alternative to the proposal, the Council could elect to ‘do nothing’ and not amalgamate the two provisions. However, the advantages of all-through Primary provision (as detailed in the ‘What are the advantages if the proposal goes ahead?’ section above) would then clearly not be realised.

Governing Body

There would be one governing body, that being Ffaldau Primary governing body.

Staffing Issues

The result of the proposal, should it go ahead, would mean that the staffing complement would reduce by 1 headteacher post (since there would be one headteacher rather than two).

What are the advantages if the proposal goes ahead?

Quality and standards in education

Outcomes (standards and wellbeing);

Both schools are currently in a medium/low risk category within the Central South Consortium’s category of school effectiveness (A-D) due to the good standards achieved. Pontycymer Nursery was an A category leading up to the recent inspection and was moved to a C category as a result of being put into LA monitoring, due to minor wellbeing issues around safeguarding  that have since been resolved. Ffaldau Primary is also low risk and is in category B. The standards at both schools are good which is unlikely to be compromised by the merger.

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

A common approach to the planning and delivery of the Foundation Phase from nursery to year two would be enhanced by the merger. Pupil progress in learning could be tracked more systematically across four continuous years, as opposed to one and three, to facilitate progression. A more holistic approach to intervention would impact positively on standards. The two schools already have a common approach to nurture and pastoral transition which would be unaffected by the proposal. The excellent provision in the nursery for outdoor learning and ‘Forest School’ would not be lost and could be extended across all year groups as a result.

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

One of the improvement areas for the nursery focuses on strengthening the transition procedures so that there is a greater focus on standards. This could be more readily achieved through a common process of tracking, monitoring and intervention from nursery through to year two and beyond. Having a single vision in leading and managing the school from nursery to year six would further enhance the capacity to improve.

Partnership working is already strength of the two schools and would be unaffected. The governance of the merged school would be stronger and there would be more accountability with regard to nursery provision and standards. Parents will have just the one school with which to work.  A good relationship between staff and parents can be built up more easily over the period of 8 years that a child is in the school. The likely impact of the proposals on the ability of the school to deliver the full curriculum at the foundation phase and each key stage of education would therefore be positive.

Finance

While there would be a saving equivalent to one lump sum resulting from the proposal when compared with the status quo, equating to approximately £61,901 in total at current values, there would be some additional costs while the school was operating, in effect, on separate sites. There may be the opportunity to make some savings on 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.

There would be no net cost but a net saving is anticipated in the first financial year (which will be 7/12 of a full year) of approximately £28,877. A full year saving will be approximately £49,503 taking into account the additional split site allowance which will need to be allocated.

The current cost per pupil is £7741per annum at Pontycymmer Nursery School. The current cost per pupil is £3363 per annum at Ffaldau Primary School. The new costs per pupil as an immediate consequence of the proposed amalgamation would be circa £4004 as part of a 3-11Ffaldau Primary School. These recurrent savings are linked to the Council’s Budget Reduction Savings identified in its Medium Term Financial Strategy.

What are the potential disadvantages if the proposal goes ahead?

There is a risk that some parents may prefer to have their children educated at a separate and distinct Nursery or Primary School. Parents have been used to dealing with 2 headteachers and this would obviously change if the proposal went ahead. However, it should be bourne in mind that other schools in the Authority are all-through Primaries and these operate very effectively. Headteachers and staff ensure that children are secure and happy to work to their potential through the internal management and class organisation arrangements in such schools.

Details of affected schools

The following English medium community schools have been identified as being directly affected or likely to be affected by the proposal:

Pontycymer Nursery School
Victoria Street,
Pontycymer,
Bridgend,
CF32 8NN

Ffaldau Primary School,
Ivor Street,
Pontycymmer,
Bridgend,
CF32 8HW.

Blaengarw Primary School
Station Street
Blaengarw
Bridgend
CF32 8BA

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

Pontycymer Nursery

16

10

20

8

17

7

24

6

20

0

Ffaldau Primary

139

0

150

0

150

0

155

0

150

0

Blaengarw Primary

23N & 158

7N

23N & 165

4N

17N & 155

9N

23N & 146

6N

20N & 153

0

 

 

 


The following table provides a 5 year projection of pupil population for Ffaldau Primary School

Year

Reception

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Total

 

Age 4 - 5

Age 5 - 6

Age 6 - 7

Age 7 - 8

Age 8 - 9

Age 9 - 10

Age 10 - 11

Age 4 - 11

2014

27

20

24

24

22

16

21

154

2015

19

28

21

28

24

21

17

158

2016

22

19

28

24

28

23

22

166

2017

20

22

20

32

24

27

24

169

2018

22

20

23

23

32

23

28

171

Should the proposals be implemented, the information set out below represents the pupil projections for the amalgamated school, based on current early years 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

30

27

20

24

24

22

16

21

184

2015

30

19

28

21

28

24

21

17

188

2016

30

22

19

28

24

28

23

22

196

2017

30

20

22

20

32

24

27

24

199

2018

30

22

20

23

23

32

23

28

201

The following table represents the 5 year projections for Blaengarw Primary School 

 

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

7

22

23

19

24

25

19

19

20

178

2015

7

21

22

24

19

24

25

20

19

181

2016

7

21

25

23

24

19

24

25

20

188

2017

7

21

21

27

23

24

19

24

25

191

2018

7

21

23

22

27

23

24

19

24

190

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 Ffaldau Primary School is currently 197. Blaengarw Primary School has a capacity of 152 plus a 16 place nursery. Pontycymer Nursery School admits up to 30 pupils.

The quality of accommodation at Ffaldau Primary, Blaengarw Primary and Pontycymer Nursery Schools is considered to be satisfactory (performing as intended, exhibiting minor deterioration).

Should the proposal go ahead, the current premises and site of Pontycymer Nursery would remain in use and continue to provide the nursery age element of provision, albeit managed as part of Ffaldau primary school. Consequently, there are no significant land transfers or disposals which need to occur as a result of the proposal.

Other considerations

The current premises and sites would continue to operate where they are under the proposal. Consequently, there are no anticipated changes to learner travel arrangements or impacts on accessibility of provision, were the proposal to be implemented.

The admissions authority for the proposed 3-11 Ffaldau 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’. 

Summaries of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) inspection reports relating to Pontycymer Nursery School and Ffaldau 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 nursery would continue to operate on its current site until such time as the nursery provision can be accommodated on the same site as Ffaldau Primary, so no significant negative impact on the community is anticipated.

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, then we would welcome your comments as part of this consultation.

The consultation and statutory process

The consultation process will be completed by 16th December 2013 and the outcomes (which will be incorporated into the proposal where possible) will be reported to a Cabinet meeting on 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:

4th November 2013 to

16th 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.

 

18th 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 Pontycymer Nursery and Ffaldau Primary 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 meeting where you can hear an explanation of the proposal, put questions and express any views or concerns you may have.

Venue: Ffaldau Primary School

 

Date

Time

Meeting with the staff of Ffaldau Primary School

7th November 2013

4pm

Meeting with the governing body of Ffaldau Primary School

7th November 2013

5.15pm

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

7th November 2013

6.30pm

Meeting with the School Council of Ffaldau Primary School

TBC

TBC

Venue: Pontycymer Nursery School

 

 

 

Meeting with the staff of Pontycymer Nursery

13th November 2013

4pm

Meeting with the governing body of Pontycymer Nursery

13th November 2013

5.15pm

Meeting with the parents of pupils at Pontycymer Nursery

13th November 2013

6.30pm

Meeting with pupils of Pontycymer Nursery

TBC

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 16th December 2013.

Pro Forma - Proposal to amalgamate Pontycymer Nursery and Ffaldau Primary School

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 is now closed

Last Updated: 09/05/2014
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