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Godre’r Graig School Task Force Meeting – 01.08.2019

Attendees

Councillors

  • R.G Jones (Leader) - Leader of Council
  • P.A. Rees (PR) - Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture
  • E.V. Latham (EL)- Cabinet Member for Streetscene Engineering
  • L. Jones (LJ) - Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection

Officers

  • Steven Phillips (SP) - Chief Executive
  • Gareth Nutt (GN)  - Director of Environment
  • Aled Evans (AE) - Director of Education
  • Craig Griffiths (CG)- Head of Legal Services
  • Andrew Thomas (AT) - Head of Transformation
  • Dave Griffiths (DG) - Head of Engineering and Transport
  • Huw Jones (HJ) - Head of Financial Services
  • Robin Turner (RT) - Corporate Communication Business Partner
  • Neil Evans (NE) - Senior Executive Officer
  • Clive Barnard (CB) - Architectural Design and Project Manager
  • Peter Curnow (PC) - Transformation Project Officer
  • Rhiannon Crowhurst (RC) - Transformation Project Manager
  • Steve Ball (SB) - Development Manager - Planning

24th July Meeting Action Notes

The Action Notes were approved by all present.

NE and RT to arrange circulation and publication respectively.

Matters Arising

Leader advised that the Chief Executive, AT and himself had met with a local group and had good discussions on the issues. The Leader asked if the Council could share the summary document prepared by Earth Science Partnerships (ESP) with the local group Tegwch. It was agreed that this would be a good idea and DG stated he would be happy to meet with the group along with a representative from ESP. CG noted that the summary report must include a disclaimer that the report is not ours.

CB stated that the costs of hiring the temporary classrooms for two years stood at circa £351,000 but there would be additional costs in connection with civil works for drainage, fencing, data, water supply and foundations and for utilities with Western Power stating that their costs would be approximately £11,000. Leader stated that as and when costs were encountered information should be sent through so that an approach can be made to Welsh Government to see if there is financial assistance available.

CB stated that the planning application had been submitted and that the consultation ends on 15th August. It was noted that the planning consent was for two years and the reason for this was because it would take approximately 9 months to undertake the required surveys and works on the immediate area around the school and therefore it was felt prudent to apply for two years planning consent rather than a single year and then have to reapply for an additional year later on.

AT had contacted Powys County Council and Maes y Dderwen School and had been advised that the school would undertake an accommodation review and respond to the Council in due course. However, it was suggested that this is now not a required option as a suitable site had been located in NPT.

AE advised that work have been undertaken in relation to possibly providing all day nursery education  but it was agreed that it could cause additional logistical issues and a decision was required on whether the situation remains as it is or all day provision was arranged. The meeting agreed that the situation should remain as it is. DG to finalise the transport arrangements.

RT stated that communications were continuing and PC advised that he speaks with the head teacher / deputy head on a regular basis and any relevant information is fed to the parents. It was agreed that a more in depth level of communications could be undertaken following the grant of temporary planning permission as by this time we will have greater certainty as to when the school is likely to open.

AE highlighted that discussions had been held in relation to staffing issues particularly in relation to  school meals, and that following discussions with Cwmtawe School, school meals would be provided
from their kitchen. Issues relation to staffing would be finalised in due course.

It was noted that the current breakfast club facility may have to be suspended at the school’s temporary location, owing to the probable adjustment in the school’s opening time. However, if this would be the case, staff would be on hand to provide mid-morning snacks.

LJ asked how many children use the breakfast club and it was noted that there was circa 50. It was agreed that information should be circulated to parents as soon as possible.

A further update was provided in relation to IT facilities at the temporary location and it was noted that currently it was not envisaged that there would be additional costs pertaining to the installation of the equipment.

CB was asked whether there would be any delay in opening the school on time. CB stated that as it currently stands the company providing the accommodation are working to a date of 6 th September. However, the Council and contractor are doing everything possible to secure a school start date of Wednesday 4th September. Confirmation of this will be provided in due course.

Agreed that an update be released by the Council advising the community to look after their schools during the summer holidays. RT to draft a press release.

Leader suggested that there was no need to meet the following week but to meet once the consultation period had ended for the planning application. NE to arrange. As it was the holiday season it was agreed that should a relevant officer be unable to attend and arrange a suitable substitute that a written note be provided to the next meeting.

Any Other Business

PR asked can further investigations/discussions be undertaken as he was under the impression that the pupils and staff at the school were concerned about a snake in the pond and were keen to know it would be safe.

LJ asked if further options could be considered for working parents should the school not reopen on time. Leader noted that whilst this could be an issue, the situation was similar to the school possibly being closed for bad weather, under such circumstances, parents would need to look at their own alternatives as well. LJ accepted this point and asked that parents be communicated with at the earliest opportunity if there is a delay.

The meeting agreed that the main focus is to get the children on to the temporary site at the earliest opportunity. Agreed that the following actions be noted:

  • SG and NE to publish/circulate agreed action notes;
  • SG and PC to ensure consistent communication affected stakeholders;
  • AE to consider and deal with any potential staffing issues;
  • That all relevant members of staff note and report additional costs accrued due to the temporary relocation of Godre’r Graig School to the Director of Finance or his representative on an ongoing basis.

Next meeting to be arranged at a date and time following 15th August.