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Buckley, Mynydd Isa & Mold Area Review

March 2013

Responses were reported to Councillors (Cabinet - 19th March 2013) who approved the preferred option for each of the three areas.

Statutory Notices were published.  This stage allowed one month following the date of publication for anyone to lodge a formal (written) objection to the proposal.

Any objections will be considered by the Welsh Ministers at Welsh Government, in which case, the final decision on implementation will be with the Minister with responsibility for education and skills.

Report to Cabinet - 19.03.2013

November 2012

Earlier this year, a number of consultation events were held in Holywell, Buckley, Queensferry and Connah's Quay to seek people’s views on proposed options to modernise secondary schools in the county.

Attended by Governors, Teachers, Staff, Parents and Carers, the events provided the Council with a wealth of feedback.

During the first round of consultation, Councillors committed to undertake a second stage of consultations before making any final decision about whether or not to formally progress with one single proposal for each area. This second stage of consultation was scheduled to begin on Monday 12 November, and a number of events were held over a two week period.

Consultation Event Dates

These events are to make sure that the views of parents, students, governors, staff and unions are heard and help the Council decide whether to progress to the formal statutory stage and publish a single option for each of the three local areas.   Invitation letters have been sent to parents who have pupils in the schools that may be affected and consultation booklets will be dispatched shortly and are available below:

Buckley, Mynydd Isa & Mold Area
Holywell Area
Queensferry, Shotton & Connah's Quay Area
Children & Young People - School Modernisation

There are a number of ways people can let the Council know what they think. They can:

  • ask questions and let us know their views at these meetings
  • complete a questionnaire and return it to the School Modernisation Team, Lifelong Learning, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire, CH7 6DN;
  • or alternatively;
  • put your responses in writing to the School Modernisation Team, Lifelong Learning, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire. CH7 6DN

PLEASE NOTE THIS CONSULTATION PERIOD HAS NOW ENDED.

July 2012

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 .

June 2012

Additional responses - file available for inspection at Entrance 3 Reception, County Hall, Mold

February 2012

To help Councillors make informed decisions, some of the issues you may consider putting forward as evidence and views are:

  • the standard of education to be provided in the area, including provision for pupils with additional learning needs, delivery of the Foundation Phase and the 14-19 Transformation Programme;
  • the need for particular provision in an area, for example to meet increasing or decreasing pupil numbers or parental demand for Welsh medium or faith education in the area;
  • meeting equality legislation and tackling child poverty;
  • accessibility of schools, particularly on the journey times to school;
  • maintenance of the Welsh language;
  • provision of community focused facilities (e.g. leisure, culture, health) or on social cohesion;
  • making all school buildings "fit for purpose"; and
  • likely cost-effectiveness of proposals.

Following a series of workshops held for all Flintshire Councillors, the following options for the Buckley, Mynydd Isa and Mold area have been formulated and agreed.

Options    Description
Option 1 Retain 11-16 provision at Elfed High School.
Option 2 As option 1 but retaining 11-18 provision
Option 3 Co-locate Westwood Primary School and Elfed High School on the Elfed Site establishing a 3 – 16 provision
Option 4 As Option 3 but establishing 3 – 18 provision.

A consultation booklet is now available and it provides more information around the options and how the consultation process will work.

Copies of the booklet have been delivered to all affected schools.

This consultation ended 27 April 2012.

Please note: Consultations also take place with Children and Young People in the affected schools.

Background Documents

Buckley, Mynydd Isa & Mold Area - Questions

December 2011

A special meeting of Flintshire County Council to discuss school modernisation was held Wednesday 14 December 2011.

Special Meeting of Flintshire County Council - 14.12.11
Part 1- Agenda - 08.12.11

September 2011

The Consultation events scheduled to take place at the Argoed High School on Tuesday 14 September 2011 and Buckley Elfed High School on Wednesday 21 September were stood down.

Previous Information

A meeting of the Council's Executive was held Monday, 5 September 2011 at County Hall, Mold to consider a report on  school modernisation.

The purpose of this report is to consider the process and the preparatory work required for re-opening the public consultation on Area Reviews of Secondary School Provision following the recent Special Council Meeting (in accordance with the Council’s School Modernisation Strategy and the 14 – 19 Strategic Outline Case).

Executive - Minutes 05.09.11
Part 1 - Agenda - 31.08.11

August 2011

A full meeting of Flintshire County Council held on Wednesday 17 August 2011 recommended that a halt be called to the current school local area review consultation process.

The mood of the meeting was that, whilst the need to review the future of schools, particularly surplus places is understood by all, the Council has agreed to take a step back and then re-open consultation on the widest possible set of options with the fullest information available. The Council is acutely aware that public confidence in the early informal consultations is mixed and that we need to reconsider how best to re-open consultation with elected members, schools and other interested parties having more say in its design.

The Council’s Executive will now consider the consultation process and timeline during September. Details of the date, time and venue will be available on the website as soon as they are known.

Public consultation will not resume until October at the earliest. In the meantime, the planned consultation events are stood down.

June 2011

A number of consultation events were held in the following areas:

Buckley, Mynydd Isa & Mold

Holywell

Queensferry, Shotton & Connah's Quay

These events were to make sure that the views of parents, students, governors, staff, unions and the wider community are heard and help us to develop the next steps for education in these local areas.

Below you will find a summary of the reasons why we need to modernise our secondary schools which you will hopefully find useful.

Why changes are needed

  • As the local authority, Flintshire County Council is committed to working with schools and communities to secure high quality learning opportunities for everybody.
  • It’s important that we make sure that we use the resources we have (by resources we mean people, funding, buildings, information and technology) efficiently and effectively so that we provide value for money whilst improving our schools and supporting our learners to achieve.
  • The challenge we currently face is that we want to make sure all our schools are ‘fit for purpose’ when there is limited money to deliver increasing expectations. Too many of our schools are in inappropriate buildings that can’t meet the needs of pupils and staff.
  • Pupil numbers are generally going down, and, as a result, there are more surplus places (empty desks) in some of our schools.  All Welsh Councils have been instructed to reduce surplus places in schools by the Welsh Government, Estyn (the education and training inspectorate for Wales) and the Wales Audit Office. Our funding may also be affected in the future if there are too many empty places.
  • Surplus places also mean that buildings are under-used, and maintaining those buildings also incurs costs. Any savings made from reducing the surplus can be spent paying for teachers, teaching assistants, learning materials and improving classrooms and other places of learning.
  • In Flintshire, there are three High Schools where surplus places are now over 25%.  In other words, the schools are only three quarters full. These are: Holywell High School, Elfed High School and John Summers High School.
  • The Council has a ‘2009 School Modernisation Strategy’. This strategy says that consultation will take place to develop a plan for the future of local educational provision under a number of circumstances, which includes when schools have more than 25% surplus places.
  • As this is now the case, we are now starting a consultation about the future organisation of secondary schools in the three areas of the county.
  • Secondary schools are also affected by the planning and provision of post -16 education and training. The 2009 Flintshire School Modernisation Strategy states that a sixth form should have a minimum of 120 students to be financially workable, and to offer the breadth of curriculum choice that is required.

Related Pages

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