Posted: Fri 30th Sep 2016

Proposals On The Future Of Four High Schools

This article is old - Published: Friday, Sep 30th, 2016

Proposals on the future of four high schools and two primary schools in mid and south Powys have been supported by Powys County Council’s cabinet. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Meeting in Llandrindod Wells on Tuesday (September 27) the cabinet considered proposals for: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

• Builth Wells and Llandrindod high schools
• Brecon and Gwernyfed high schools
• Llanbister and Llanfihangel Rhydithon primary schools ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cabinet approved plans to publish a statutory notice for the closure of Builth Wells and Llandrindod high schools and create one school operating over the two existing sites from September 2018. It was also stated that the authority is no longer planning to build a new single-sited school in Builth Wells. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Arwel Jones, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Both schools are currently in special measures and the proposal is designed to establish a sustainable model of secondary education capable of delivering high quality education. This will allow us to streamline and improve the leadership structure across both sites, and will also generate economies of scale leading to increased investment in teaching and learning on both sites. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The cabinet approved a recommendation to bring another report back to cabinet on the future of Gwernyfed and Brecon high schools – discussions will now begin with the two schools. It was also agreed to submit a revised bid to Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme for capital investment for a new build 11 – 18 campus in Brecon and improvements to the Gwernyfed campus. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They also agreed to formally re-consult on proposals to close the Welsh stream at Brecon High School and have it delivered at the Builth Wells campus of the proposed new two sited secondary school for mid Powys – this will take place after the October half term. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Although there are many benefits for a larger 11-16 school in Brecon it was not the right solution for the area and that is clear from the consultation responses. The communities have spoken and we have listened and are abandoning our plans for a single school on one site.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cabinet also agreed that officers are to bring another report back to cabinet by no later than end of November with new recommendations for the future of Llanbister and Llanfihangel Rhydithon CP Schools. The original plans to close both schools, which were subject to formal consultation earlier this year, have been abandoned. The reasons stated included an increase expected in pupil numbers at the two schools and the impact of significant additional travel for some pupils. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“During the consultation, concerns were raised about the capacity of the named receiving school to accommodate pupils. Information was also received that suggested an increase in pupil numbers at both schools. Another point of concern was the impact of significant additional travel for some pupils”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“However, we are still very concerned about the future sustainability of these two rural schools, in particular about securing a permanent model of leadership that will lead to an improvement in standards. As a result, the cabinet agreed that a new report on their future be brought to cabinet in November,” added Cllr Jones. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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