Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB
Contact: Dominique Redman Democratic and Member Support Officer
Attendance / Presenoldeb
Executive Members (with Portfolios) in alphabetical order
Cllr Bob Wellington (Leader) (in the Chair)
Cllr Anthony Hunt – Deputy Leader
Cllr Cwyneira Clark – Executive Member Housing, Planning and Public Protection
Cllr Richard Clark – Executive Member Health, Social Care and Wellbeing
Cllr John Cunningham MBE KSG – Executive Member Neighbourhoods
Cllr David Yeowell – Executive Member for Education
Nigel Aurelius – Assistant Chief Executive (Resources) (ACXR)
Mark Horton – Head of Forward Planning & Access, Education (HoFP&A)
Duncan Smith – Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning & Public Protection (CONP&PP)
Dermot McChrystal – Head of Education (HoE)
Dominique Redman – Democratic and Member Support Officer (D&MSO)
Paul Clothier – IT Technician
Geraint Thomas – Webcasting
Apologies for absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb
2.1 Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Anthony Hunt and Lewis Jones.
Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o fudd
3.1 Councillor Gwyneira Clark declared a personal but not prejudicial interest in relation to agenda item 4, ‘Abersychan Brynteg Nursery School and Cwmffrwdeor, Garnteg and Victoria Primary Schools – to determine the proposals following the conclusion of the statutory objection period’ as she was a council appointed governor of Garnteg Primary School and Abersychan Brynteg Nursery school.
Abersychan Brynteg Nursery School and Cwmffrwdoer, Garnteg and Victoria Primary Schools - to determine the proposals following the conclusion of the statutory objection period / Ysgol Feithrin Brynteg Abersychan ac Ysgolion Cynradd Cwmffrwdoer, Garnteg a Victoria - i bennu'r cynigion yn dilyn diwedd y cyfnod gwrthwynebu statudol PDF 435 KB
Members noted the outcome of the statutory objection period/process and, with one member voting against agreed, subject to the conclusion of ongoing legal proceedings, to:
a) discontinue Victoria Primary School with the dispersal of pupils to neighbouring schools (predominantly Garnteg Primary School) with effect from 1st September 2017;
b) discontinue Abersychan Brynteg Nursery School with effect from 1st September 2017;
c) extend Garnteg Primary School with the new extended provision available with effect from 1st September 2017;
d) extend Cwmffrwdoer Primary School, and at the same time increase the age range from 4 to 11 years to 3 to 11 to provide nursery provision. The nursery provision and extended provision to be available with effect from 1st September 2017;
e) adjust/reallocate catchment areas as follows:
i) current Victoria Primary School to Garnteg Primary School
ii) current Abersychan Brynteg Nursery School to Garnteg Primary School,and
ensuring that transition plans are put in place as soon as possible following these decisions, to keep any disruption to teaching and learning to an absolute minimum.
REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.
CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.
MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: CouncillorGwyneira Clark declared a personal but not prejudicial interest as she was a council appointed governor of Garnteg Primary School and Abersychan Brynteg Nursery school.
4.1 The HoE introduced the report which asked Cabinet to:
- consider the outcome of the statutory objection period in relation to proposals to close Abersychan Brynteg Nursery and Victoria Primary Schools and extend Cwmffrwdoer and Garnteg Primary Schools and, in the case of Cwmffrwdoer, increase the age range form 4-11 to 3-11 to provide nursery provision; and
- to determine the proposals which if agreed would be implemented on 1 September 2017, subject to the conclusion of ongoing legal proceedings.
4.2 The HoE outlined the report in detail.
4.3 Councillor Cunningham sought clarification around the council’s obligation by the School Organisation Code to make a determination on the proposals within a 16 week timeframe which was due to end on 21 July. The HoE explained that, should the timescale be exceeded, part of the consultation process would need to be repeated which could then effect the authority’s ability to make decisions associated with the 21 Century Schools Programme and could put significant investment at risk. Welsh Government had confirmed that there would not be any flexibility around the timing of Band A of the 21st Century Schools Programme.
4.4 In summary, Councillor Gwyneira Clark raised the following points:
- There was concern around pressure from Welsh Government to make a decision with the timescale;
- Questions were being raised around a decision being made whilst the Judicial Review was ongoing;
- The Objection Report did not appear to reflect the response received from the public.
- Clarity was needed around the reasons for planning permission at Cwmffrwdoer School being withdrawn.
- Safe routes to school was a major concern, particularly with regards to excessive traffic and lives being put at risk.
- Inaccuracies around class sizes and structures had been noted within the traffic impact assessment.
- The criteria around allocation of school places should be reviewed in order to prevent situations whereby pupils were not able to attend schools closest to their home and whereby siblings were attending different schools.
- The feel of community life was important for children.
- There appeared to be a north and south divide in terms of 6th form education. The north of the borough had never benefited from this provision. The closure of two English language schools was being proposed in Abersycan Ward which had a population of 7000. Although Councillor Gwyneira Clark had always supported the 21 Century Schools Programme, she felt that valuable assets were being lost.
- Brynteg Nursery had recently passed an inspection with excellent results. It was hoped that this stand-alone nursery would remain open along with Victoria Village Primary School.
4.5 Councillor G Clark referred to the work of parents in challenging this decision and asked that Cabinet did not make a decision until after the results of the judicial review had been received.
4.6 In response to the points raised above, the HoE commented as follows:
- The 21 Century Schools Programme was required the authority to make decisions in a timely ... view the full minutes text for item 4.