At its meeting on Tuesday 17 July 2012 the Council's Cabinet approved a further round of informal consultations, on a single preferred option for Buckley, Mynydd Isa and Mold.
The preferred option is:
To retain 11-16 provision at Elfed High School. Rationalise to 600 places, to include Additional Learning Needs and other education, leisure and cultural uses.
There is a positive vision to develop and enhance Westwood Primary School on its current site, together with a willingness to consider possible relocation of office accommodation from the Westwood Centre to the Elfed campus.
The increase in pupil numbers in the Buckley area has led to oversubscription in some of the town’s Primary schools. There is potential for the capacity of Westwood Primary School to be reinstated in order to provide additional Primary places and to meet the increase in demand. This would be in accordance with the Welsh Government Guidance to Local Authorities to use existing school capacity and not to expand those popular schools, at the expense of others.
Consultation provided a clear message that the movement of Primary provision to the Elfed High School site was not acceptable to this community at this point in time.
The accommodation at Elfed High School continues to remain too large for projected 11 to 16 pupil numbers. Further consideration needs to be given to developing options for secondary provision in the Buckley area and for alternative uses to safeguard school provision. There are a range of alternative uses available for surplus school accommodation which can be of benefit to education and community. They include alternative public service, leisure and cultural uses. As well as increasing efficiency within the campus, these may also safeguard infrastructure for any long term changes in patterns of demographic demand.
Meeting the expectations of the Welsh Government in relation to the organisation and rationalisation of sixth form provision is a challenge for schools and the Authority.
A significant body of opinion, including the Governing Body of Elfed High School have expressed the view that post-16 education should be retained at the school. However, it is acknowledged that the present number on-roll in the sixth form is below the level which can provide financial viability, and to efficiently sustain the required breadth of curriculum in accordance with the Learning and Skills measure. From the projections of student numbers currently available it is unlikely that the viability issues will be resolved and as a result, the option of establishing the 11-16 provision, with post-16 being accessed elsewhere provides the best way forward in terms of resilient provision for students in the community.
The full report is available here .