Council Outlines 21st Century Schools Vision

A vision for the future of education in Cardiff was presented to the Schools Sub Committee by council officers on Friday evening (October 22).

The committee heard about a number of reorganisation and investment proposals that seek to deliver a viable and successful schools system for Cardiff including a transforming investment in Information and Communication Technology.

The proposals aim to provide investment in English-medium and Welsh-medium provision, reduce the backlog of school building repairs significantly and the creation of all-through three to 11-years-old primary schools.  Secondary and primary schools would be upgraded to meet 21st Century standards in teaching and learning and opportunities for integrated services to strengthen the community focus of schools would be extended with a strong emphasis on ICT.

The Welsh Assembly Government recently launched a new funding programme, the 21st Century Schools Programme, aimed at investment in schools in Wales. Funding will be available from 2012 and it is anticipated that it will continue for 15 years or more, initially in four bands, with each band spanning a three-year period. The package of proposals agreed by the Sub Committee will form the basis of Cardiff’s bid for the first tranche of funding being made available under this programme.

All local authorities have been invited to submit a Strategic Outline Programme to develop a strategic overview of the future of the authority’s education provision.

Area by Area Organisational Proposals and Likely Investment Bids

The South: Fitzalan High School Area
Following a third successive year of growth in birth rates in the area, the Council is proposing a significant increase in Welsh-medium provision and increases in English-medium capacities within the area.

The proposals focus on providing additional nursery places in both English and Welsh-medium, and consolidation and investment in Fitzalan High School at 10 Forms of Entry. Radnor Primary School and St Mary’s RC Primary School would receive nursery provision with additional childcare facilities required at Mount Stuart Primary.  Other schools in the area will be consulted to see how they might be able to accommodate the growing population, and identify their investment needs.

As previously approved by the Executive, it is proposed that Grangetown Nursery will amalgamate with Grangetown Primary School with the intention that the Nursery, becoming part of Grangetown Primary School, should be an Integrated Children’s Facility for the area.

To meet demands for Welsh-medium provision, Ysgol Pwll Coch should be expanded to 3 Forms of Entry and the new Ysgol Treganna at Sanatorium Road is proposed to absorb Tan yr Eos at 3 Forms of Entry with nursery when it opens.

The South: Willows High School Area
Additional capacity should be provided by increasing Baden Powell Primary by 0.5 Form of Entry to meet a small increase in birth rates in recent years and this investment should be coupled with its amalgamation with Tremorfa Nursery School providing Integrated Children’s services in partnership with the Integrated Children’s Facilities currently being constructed at Adamsdown Primary School.

An amendment to this proposal put forward by Cllr Berman, was agreed at the meeting recommending that in taking forward the amalgamation of Baden Powell Primary and Tremorfa Nursery School that the local authority nursery provision should continue on the existing Tremorfa Nursery site.

Consolidation of and investment in Willows High School is also part of the proposal.

The West: Glyn Derw High School, Michaelston Community College, Cantonian High School & Radyr Comprehensive Area Governors of Glyn Derw High School and Michaelston Community College are currently consulting on the federation of the schools and a reduction in capacity to 10 Forms of Entry supported with a bid for investment through 21st Century Schools.

Officers consider that it is no longer prudent to propose a secondary school closure in the west of Cardiff due to a recent increase in birth rates.  The small growth in population in Ely requires a proposed increase in capacity of 0.5 Form of Entry at Hywel Dda Primary School and a proposed investment to provide nursery facilities at St Francis RC Primary School while additional nursery capacity is also proposed for Herbert Thompson Primary.

The East: Llanrumney High School & Rumney High School Area There remains a significant level of surplus capacity and investment needs in schools to the north of Newport Road.  It is therefore proposed that Pen y Bryn Primary School should be closed.  There should be consolidation, investment and/or expansion in Bryn Hafod and Glan yr Afon Primary Schools with the further development of Integrated Children’s Facilities at Glan yr Afon. St Mellons CiW School should be expanded by 0.5 Form of Entry with the addition of a nursery while St Cadoc’s RC Primary should also receive nursery provision.

The North: Llanishen High School  & Llanedeyrn High School Area Proposals in this area include a new primary school with nursery in Pontprennau and nursery provision at Christ the King RC Primary School.  Ysgol y Wern could be expanded to accommodate a further form of entry if demand for Welsh-medium education continues to grow in the area.

Corpus Christi RC High School should be consolidated at 7 Forms of Entry with the provision of a new hall which has been lacking since the school’s construction.

The North: Whitchurch High School Area
Gabalfa Primary School and Ysgol Glan Ceubal should both be consolidated as 1 Form of Entry schools on the site they currently share with development of Integrated Children’s Facilities providing services in both English and Welsh.

The Schools Sub Committee considered the proposals and is recommending to the Executive that consultation be undertaken on the proposals as and when required.

Leader of Cardiff Council and Chair of the Schools Sub Committee, Cllr Rodney Berman, said: “Through this new opportunity from the Welsh Assembly Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme, we are looking to secure as much funding as possible to take forward these proposals and make further considerable investments in our schools.

“We have already ploughed around £165m into school buildings throughout Cardiff since 2007 and this latest set of proposals will allow us to further address the issues we are still facing such as surplus places, inadequate school buildings and an increase in demand for Welsh-medium provision. The investment would enable us to ensure we have the right sized schools in the right places across the city.

“The element of the programme concerning proposed investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will absolutely transform the current provision in schools and is something that will benefit all schools in Cardiff so that they have access to first class, state-of-the-art technology for both teaching and learning.

“The 21st Century Schools Programme is a chance for us to take another stride forward towards achieving an education system throughout the city that provides children and young people with the best possible opportunities.”

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