FAO: Key Stakeholders and Interested Parties
Proposal to establish an English-medium 3-11 school with a specialist Learning Support Centre (LSC) for 16 pupils with a statement of special educational needs relating to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in new build premises to accommodate pupils from the current catchment areas of Alltwen Primary, Godre’rgraig Primary and Llangiwg Primary, all of which will be discontinued on 31st August 2024.
Determination of this proposal complies with statutory requirements under the Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and Welsh Government‘s Code on School Organisation.
At its meeting on 20th October 2021, the Council’s Cabinet received a report on the proposal to establish an English-medium 3-11 school with a specialist Learning Support Centre (LSC) for 16 pupils with a statement of special educational needs relating to Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in new build premises to accommodate pupils from the current catchment areas of Alltwen Primary, Godre’rgraig Primary and Llangiwg Primary, all of which will be discontinued on 31st August 2024. This meeting followed the end of the period for the submission of objections.
Cabinet Members determined to implement the proposal effective from the 31st August/1st September 2024.
Having carefully considered the proposal, the statutory objections, advice from Estyn and the supporting evidence from Council officers, Cabinet Members approved implementation of the proposal. The decision will enable the Council to comply with the legislative requirements necessary to facilitate the implementation of the proposal which will assist the Council in meeting its duty to secure efficient education in its area.
In reaching their decision, Cabinet Members gave consideration to the following:
Objections to the proposal
Cabinet members noted that 297 written objections were received. The objections were made available to Members for perusal prior to the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 20th October.
Quality and Standards of Education
The proposed new 21st century school will create significant teaching and learning benefits for pupils, staff and the community. New builds have been shown to have a positive impact on standards and pupil wellbeing, and can improve many aspects of curriculum delivery. Combining the three schools can deliver more effective curriculum provision and greater teaching and learning opportunities.
Including an LSC provision in the new build will ensure that pupils are provided with purpose built, 21st century standard facilities, with the aim of ensuring best possible outcomes for pupils, and will address identified need for further provision for primary aged pupils with ASD.
Need for places and the impact on accessibility of schools
The proposed new, 21st century build primary school will provide for up to for 630 full-time pupils and 140 part-time (70 a.m. / 70 p.m.) nursery pupils, and 16 pupils in the LSC. This will deliver sufficient accommodation for the total combined forecasted pupil number of the existing three primary schools and for growth in pupil population.
The new school will serve the combined catchment areas of Alltwen, Godre’rgraig and Llangiwg Primary schools and will have sufficient capacity for pupils from the area. Pupils from the three existing schools will automatically transfer to the new school subject to parental preference.
For many of the primary aged pupils the proposed location of the new school on the site at Ynysderw remains within 2 miles travel distance for homes in the catchment area. Home to school journey times from within the catchment area fall within reasonable limits for primary age pupils. Prior to the new school opening suitable walking routes will be assessed.
Support with home to school travel will be made available in line with the Council’s Home to School Transport policy.
Resourcing of Education and other financial implications
Additional recurring revenue costs associated may be incurred, similarly there will be revenue efficiency savings associated with this proposal.
Revenue funding for schools is distributed on an annual basis by means of an approved formula. This ensures school budget shares are allocated on a simple, objective and measurable basis.
Efficiencies will be secured as the new school will have one head teacher and one management structure. Revenue savings will be re-invested in the education budget. In this regard, the proposal supports the Council’s management of its education budget and promotes the more equitable distribution of funding across local schools.
The proposal for the new build school also includes the creation of a learning, health and wellbeing community campus through the addition of a new build pool on the Parc Ynysderw site, with the aim of providing opportunities for all members of the Swansea Valley community to benefit from modern, fit for purpose facilities.
The new build school and pool’s co-location alongside the existing Cwmtawe Community School and Pontardawe Leisure Centre will provide opportunities to further develop and integrate community provision with delivery partners for indoor and outdoor sporting activities.
Welsh Language Impact Assessment
The Swansea Valley area is a linguistically significant area as it contains the highest number and percentages of Welsh speakers in Neath Port Talbot, and is amongst the highest in Wales as a whole.
A Welsh Language Impact Assessment (WLIA) has been developed which includes actions to mitigate against potential negative impacts on the Welsh language in the area.