The Council needs to ensure there are a sufficient number of school places, of the right type, in the right locations. This is not straightforward in that there are a large number of surplus school places in some areas of the County, whilst other areas don’t have enough places to meet the local demand. In other areas, school populations are sustained by children and young people from outside the local area through parental preference. The need to maintain a large number of ageing school buildings and the supporting infrastructure is unsustainable. Therefore, we need to review our school provision to:
- ensure our education provision is both high quality and sustainable;
- improve the quality of school buildings and facilities; and
- provide the right number of school places, of the right type, in the right locations.
The task involves:
- forecasting pupil numbers;
- managing the supply of school places;
- managing demand through admissions and appeals procedures;
- ensuring that a framework is in place to secure improvement through school organisational change;
- being prepared to take difficult decisions; and
- monitoring and evaluating the impact of decisions.
We review and modernise the way education is delivered through a rolling programme of area reviews. We review schools on an area by area basis, to make sure that when we make changes to school organisation, we take into account any potential impact on other schools nearby.
When we carry out an area review, we always consult with children, young people, parents and carers connected with schools in that area. This is so that they can have their say and be involved in decisions made about our local schools.
The outcomes of an area review can include merging of existing schools through a combination of school federations, merging on one preferred site or the building of new area schools and the closure of schools that are no longer fit for purpose. Achieving this can require substantial capital investment, in conjunction with the Welsh Government, to improve our school infrastructure and ensure that school buildings are suitable and provide an effective legacy for future generations.
School Modernisation Update to Strategy