Queensferry Campus Project – Pause and Review
An update on the Queensferry Campus Project will be discussed at Cabinet on
Tuesday (17 February).
In October 2014, the Council announced it was to pause and review progress on
the Queensferry Campus Project, a new school building which was to replace John
Summers High School and refurbish the adjoining Queensferry Primary School.
The Council had made a policy commitment to develop a business case for a 3 to
16 school and replacement campus for John Summers High School. The pause and
review was held following concern about the resilience of the data needed to
support that business case to the Welsh Government for funding under its 21st
Century Schools Programme. The review was undertaken as a result of updated
information and a drop in actual and projected pupils numbers in the area.
Now that the review has been completed, the recommendation to Cabinet is to not
proceed with a new school to replace John Summers High School, and to open a
period of formal consultation on how best to secure resilient, sustainable,
high quality education in the area.
Ian Budd, Chief Officer for Education and Youth, said:
“We do understand the level of disappointment within the community. However, we
have a duty to ensure that public funding is used in the most efficient way
possible to support learners. For a new school building programme to go ahead,
and to secure capital funding, a business case has to meet a number of tests.
We had to be confident that there will be sufficient pupil numbers for the
immediate and future years of the school, and this was not found to be the
Cllr Chris Bithell, Cabinet Member for Education, said:
“The original plans were based on 600 secondary places, but there are
insufficient current and projected future pupil numbers to support this. Whilst
last week’s confirmation of the planned link road through the Northern Gateway
development site is very welcome, it doesnt change the level of housing
development capable of being made there or the assessed need for local school
places - and the completion of the development is some years away. This is
further compounded by a predicted drop in birth rates.
“The governing body has expressed a view that they wished to avoid a prolonged
period of uncertainty for the school and local community. The next stage,
subject to Cabinet approval on Tuesday, will be to open a formal consultation
to look at the existing schools future viability. Any proposed changes would
be subject to full statutory consultation procedures.
This decision also means that the earlier decision to incorporate Nursery
Class provision within Queensferry Primary School as a 3 to 11 school would
remain in place.”