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Proposal to make a regulated alteration to Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw by relocating the 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 to abandon the proposal.

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 make a regulated alteration to Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw by relocating the school to a new school building on the Betws Primary School site with a target opening date of September 2017.

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 19th November 2013 to 30th December 2013.

The proposal

It is proposed to relocate Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw from Pontycymer to a new build Welsh-medium primary school on the current Betws Primary School site, which is a distance of 4.7 miles. This would create a school capacity of 210 pupils (subject to the final analysis of the Authority’s Welsh Medium survey data) plus a nursery of 45 full time equivalents based on the current early years policy. It would also allow for growth in demand for Welsh medium education and accommodate extra pupils coming from an enlarged catchment.

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.

What the proposal means in practice

This proposal would see the relocation of Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw from Pontycymer to the Betws Primary School site. It would allow for growth in demand for Welsh medium education and accommodate extra pupils coming from an enlarged catchment.

This relocation proposal would facilitate a change to the school’s catchment area to encompass an area north of Bridgend town, which would reduce the pressure on places at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr in Bridgend, which is nearing its full capacity and will not be able to meet the expected needs of housing developments in the Bridgend and Valley Gateways areas in the near future. Although a 1 form entry school is planned (subject to the final analysis of the Authority’s Welsh Medium survey data), the design would be such that it would be adaptable and flexible enough to meet an increase in demand for places within the area. This balancing of Welsh-medium places across the county borough would also make Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw a more viable size in terms of education provision and provide a school that is fit for purpose and more efficient in terms of operating costs. 

This proposal is related to another of the Authority’s proposals currently being consulted upon, which involves closing 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.

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). Eventually, therefore, it is proposed to build two new schools on the current Betws Primary School site in total, 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 (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 in terms of provision and on-going maintenance).

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”).

Welsh-medium primary school provision for the north east of the county borough is currently provided at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Cwm Garw, which is located in Pontycymer. This school is typical of a number of valley schools, being built on a hillside and with poor access for disabled pupils and visitors.  It is not suitable for delivery of today’s curriculum and its condition is graded ‘Poor’ (exhibiting major defects and/or not operating as intended) with an estimated £700,000 backlog of repairs and maintenance. 

The current capacity of the school is 223 with 139 (4-11) on roll as of September 2013, resulting in 84 surplus places.  The number on roll is projected to rise to 174 in 2021, which would mean that surplus places would be 49.  It is the ambition of the Council to increase the numbers of parents choosing Welsh medium education for their children and this needs balancing with the number of surplus places being held. Whilst we have surplus places in this school and our other Welsh-medium provision in the north of the county borough, Ysgol Cynwyd Sant, we have a deficit of places in the south. 

School

Sep-13

Sep-21 Projected

 

Capacity

NOR

4-11

+/-

Capacity

NOR 4-11

+/-

YGG Cwm Garw

223

139

84

223

174

49

Betws Primary

242

195

47

242

238

4

Tynyrheol Primary

74

69

5

74

85

-11

Ysgol Cynwyd Sant

284

258

26

284

277

7

Mobile units are being installed at both Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr in December 2013 and Ysgol Y Ferch O’r Sger in 2014 to meet the immediate sufficiency issues, but a longer term solution is required and these proposals will reduce the pressure on Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr.

Relocation of YGG Cwm Garw Welsh-medium primary school closer to the Valley Gateway area, would make the school more accessible, as it would be more centrally located.  RhAG (Parents for Welsh Medium Education) have advised that parents in the neighboring valley have suggested that they do not currently use YGG Cwm Garw because of the travel distances involved for their children.  

As an alternative to the proposal, the Council could elect to ‘do nothing’ and not pursue a new build on the Betws site. 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 result of the proposal, should it go ahead, would be that the Governing body arrangements would remain as at present.

Staffing Issues

The result of the proposal, should it go ahead, would mean that the staffing complement would remain as at present.

What are the advantages if the proposal goes ahead?

Quality and standards in education 

Outcomes (standards and wellbeing);

Standards are good in Ysgol Cwm Garw and would be unlikely to be negatively affected in the long term by a move to a new site. Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr achieves very good standards for all learners with no reasons to suggest that this would be compromised in any way by the proposal and equally those pupils transferring to Ysgol Cwm Garw would be likely to sustain the same standards.

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

Quality of teaching YGG Cwm Garw would be likely to be enhanced by a modern, new facility with no detrimental effect on provision in Ysgol Bro Ogwr.

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

The leadership and management of the Welsh-medium schools would be unlikely to be affected in any negative way, and the attraction of a new school building could significantly increase parental choice.

The likely impact of the proposals on the ability of the school to deliver the full curriculum and raise standards in the foundation phase and key stage two would be positive. Leadership and management in both Welsh medium schools are good with good capacity to improve.

Finance

The anticipated £4m 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 building development and design stages.

The current cost per pupil is £3829. The new costs per pupil as a consequence of the proposed would be circa £3200. 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 the existing school sites.

Details of affected schools

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

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

Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr,
Princess Way
Brackla
Bridgend,
CF31 2LN

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

YGG Cwm Garw

151

0

149

0

147

0

157

0

154

0

Ysgol Bro Ogwr

380

7

396

5

410

0

402

6

432

0

 

 

 

The table below provides a 5 Year projection of pupil population for Ysgol Gymraeg Cwm Garw Welsh Medium Primary School. Capacity of YGG Cwm Garw is 223 with an admission number of 30 and buildings rated Condition grade C. Latest Estyn inspection grade – Excellent. 

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

The table below provides a 5 year projection of pupil population for Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr Welsh Medium Primary School. Capacity of YGG Bro Ogwr is 364 with an admission number of 54 and buildings rated Condition grade B. Latest Estyn inspection judgement - Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr is a good school with a variety of outstanding features in aspects such as learner linguistic standards and behaviour, and the range of experiences offered inside and outside the building. 

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

5

56

59

67

59

44

59

38

50

437

2015

5

57

60

57

67

57

45

56

36

440

2016

5

57

64

58

56

64

58

42

54

458

2017

5

57

69

61

57

54

65

55

41

464

2018

5

57

63

66

61

55

55

61

53

476

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 YGG Cwm Garw is currently 223.

The quality of accommodation at YGG Cwm Garw is graded ‘Poor’ (exhibiting major defects and/or not operating as intended) with an estimated £700,000 backlog of repairs and maintenance.  Should the proposal go ahead, the current premises and site would, upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in 2017, become surplus to requirements and disposal would be sought (disposal value anticipated at £100,000).  Any capital receipts would be reinvested in the schools modernisation programme.

Other considerations

The current premise and site would continue to operate where it is under the proposal until the new premises becomes ready for occupation on the current Betws site in September 2017.

Upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in September 2017 (the Betws site is situated 4.7miles from YGG Cwm Garw) pupils from outside of the Betws Area will be provided with free school transport. Free school transport is provided in the BCBC area for walking distances greater than 1.5 miles by available by non-hazardous routes. There are currently three school transport buses going to the existing YGG Cwm Garw Primary school. There are no free school buses to the existing Betws Primary school.

A school bus service, with sufficient capacity to transport the required projected number of pupils to the Betws site would cost approximately £142k per academic year.  There are currently three buses transporting pupils to YGG Cwm Garw (one from Nantymoel area one from the Blackmill area and one from Betws/Llangeinor area) costing £56k per academic year. The additional transport cost of the proposal would therefore only be approximately £86k per academic year based on current pupil projections. It is anticipated that these transport costs would be offset by the revised formula allocation savings realised as a result of operating a single ‘site’.

The admissions authority for the proposed relocated YGG Cwm Garw 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’.  Admission number for the new school would be 30 (subject to the final analysis of the Authority’s Welsh Medium survey data).

A summary of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn) most recent  inspection reports relating to YGG Cwm Garw and YGG Bro Ogwr are included at appendix A and B for  your information. The full inspection reports are available from the Estyn website.

Impact Assessment: Community

Upon occupation of the new build school on the current Betws site in September 2016, a positive impact on the community is anticipated as a result of the provision of modern, accessible community facilities. There are no groups, agencies or clubs regularly operating outside of school hours at the existing YGG Cwm Garw School. A Cylch Meithrin is located in the lower level of the existing building next to the dinning room, which potentially could be accommodated at the new build school if required.

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 30th 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:

19th November 2013 to

30th 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 relocate YGG Cwm Garw 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: YGG Cwm Garw Primary School

 

Date

Time

Meeting with the staff of YGG Cwm Garw

25.11.2013

4.00pm

Meeting with the governing body of YGG Cwm Garw

25.11.2013

5.15pm

Meeting with the parents of pupils at YGG Cwm Garw and other interested parties

25.11.2013

6.30pm

Meeting with the School Council of YGG Cwm Garw

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 30th December 2013.

 

Pro Forma- Proposal to relocate YGG Cwm Garw 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 has now closed

Last Updated: 02/04/2015
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