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1. 1.1

PURPOSE OF REPORT To update Members on developments and to seek approval to submit revised proposals to Council on 3rd November and then the Welsh Government (WG) by the due date of 18th November 2011.

2. 2.1

LINKS TO STRATEGY The report links directly to the Education for Life, sustainability and regeneration strategies, particularly in the context of provision of modern fit for purpose teaching and learning environments.

3. 3.1

THE REPORT The WG formally launched the 21st century schools initiative in March 2010. They worked in partnership with the WLGA to seek a strategic outline programme (SOP) from each local authority. The SOP was encouraged to be both innovative and aspirational as a means of transforming teaching and learning across schools. Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC) established a Stakeholder Group comprising wide and varied representation. The Stakeholder Group recommended key principles for the development of the SOP and were fully involved in the assessment of future proposals. Council, at its meeting on 23rd November 2010, agreed the SOP for submission to the WG by 10th December 2010. The SOP comprised 12 detailed proposals for Band A (2012-2015) amounting to 84.5m. Proposals for Bands B-D (2015-2024) amounted to 310m. Many of the school rationalisation proposals, realising reductions in surplus places, were contained in Bands B & C with the less controversial proposals, many not requiring statutory proposals, contained in Band A. These proposals were based upon an assumption that local authorities would be required to meet 30% of the costs with WG meeting 70% (as with Tranche 3 bids). This compares with Tranche 1 approvals which were 100% WG funded and Tranche 2 approvals which were funded 80% WG/20% local authority. The Minister for Education & Skills provided a written statement on 13 July 2011 in relation to 21st century schools.






The main features were as follows: The commencement of the programme will be 2014, rather than 2012 as previously indicated. A 40% reduction in capital funding imposed on the WG across the current funding period. Opportunity for Authorities to review the timing and content of their planned investments so as to take the hard decisions early that will ensure funding goes to the delivery of excellence in education not the maintenance of buildings. Authorities to be invited to review their forward outline programmes detailed in the SOP against a sharper prioritisation based on the rationalisation of the school estate (including the reduction of surplus places) together with the cost effectiveness of delivery and condition with alignment to All Age Transformation. Expectation that Authorities will take account of both neighbouring authorities and other providers in their updated forward plans. Movement to a 50% rate of capital grant support (70% assumed by most Authorities when submitting their SOPs in 2010), enabling the WG to support more school investment proposals. Support to revenue funded partnership approaches, where most appropriate.


The WG finally issued guidance relating to revised bid proposals on Friday, 14th October 2011. A number of other changes were also confirmed as part of the detailed guidance received: No annual formula allocation (such as school buildings improvement grant) for maintenance schemes, at least until 2014. Band A will be for a period of 6 years (2014-2020). Projects are expected to be prioritised. Emphasise to schools the use of school budgets to carry out repair and maintenance works.



The guidance advised that funding support will be prioritised and targeted to support remodelling and reconstruction type projects only and that refurbishment projects will be excluded from receiving capital support at this stage. WG has defined these categories follows: 1. Remodelling extensive upgrading of the existing building and redesign of the accommodation (e.g. curriculum-led upgrades, new facilities and full DDA compliance). 2. Reconstruction e.g. partial/total demolition and rebuilding to modern standards (i.e. 21st Century Schools standard). 3. Renovation maintenance of existing fabric (e.g. windows, curtain walling, roof coverings etc). 4. Refurbishment partial upgrading of the existing building and facilities (e.g. partial DDA compliance, asbestos removal, maintenance works - painting, floor coverings etc).


In summary the methodology of assessment is to determine the running order of the programme for Band A and will consist of the following: the overall score of the strategic case of the SOP; and calculation of a score for projects/programmes that are addressing the most inefficient parts of the schools estate (removal of surplus places). running efficiencies (e.g. reduction in running costs, backlog maintenance etc). the extent to which the condition rating of schools is addressed in the bid proposals will represent a threshold pass in terms of the scoring methodology.


Each of these elements will be allocated a score with the exception of condition. For example, in assessing the efficient use of the estate, authorities programmes will be prioritised by the number of surplus places removed from the system against of capital investment required. Authorities will then be ranked highest to lowest (against an overall score calculated from each metric) and then allocated in descending order into the Band A programme. The Programme Board will assess the sequencing process to ensure regional fairness (based on ADEW areas) but will also quality assure the assessment process to ensure transparency in this process is maintained. The assessment appears simplistic in nature, largely seeking to establish the number of surplus places removed per of capital investment required. Many of the original SOP proposals, whilst seeking to improve the teaching and learning environments and improving attainment levels, would not directly meet these new criteria. Bids are required spanning the first 6 financial years (2014/15 2019/20) of the programme. WG has estimated that there could be circa 100m match funding available per annum during this period with LAs required to match fund on a 50/50 basis. WG expects this process to provide for a re-prioritisation of the original SOP, rather than the introduction of entirely new projects. Process and Timetable






The key milestones in respect of this revised bid process are as follows:14th October 1st November 3rd November 18th November Early December TBC TBC TBC TBC 1st April 2014 (to 31st March 2020) TBC

Bid and guidance documentation received Cabinet Council Bid submission date WG decisions (in principle) WG challenge stage all options considered/policy compliance Outline Business Cases approved Final Business Cases approved WG final approval Commencement of Band A Eligibility of expenditure pre 1/4/14 on finally approved projects

Revised Bid Proposals 3.17 A summary of the bid proposals in priority order are as follows:Proposal Condition Rating Before After 1A(Sec) Cost m 20 Surplus Places Removed NIL Cost per surplus place -

Welsh Medium St. Ilan Rhymney 3-18 New Primary School build, plus improve community facilities Rationalisation of 13 English Medium secondary schools into 10 with further removal of places on school sites Grand Total Band A

1B & 2C 2B, 10C & 1D

1A 2A, 6B & 2C







3B, 12C & 1D

4A. 6B & 2C





The prioritisation is largely based upon the urgency for additional Welsh Medium secondary places, combined with the realistic timescales to achieve the desired project outcomes. Members will recall that Council at its meeting on 23rd November 2010 agreed the SOP and in so doing also agreed as a first priority in Band A an increase in secondary school places on the former St. Ilan School site. That proposal provided eventually for three 11-14 facilities across the County Borough (1 per Band A, B and C) which is no longer considered realistic or affordable. The guidance concentrates upon investments to remove surplus places and improve the condition factors of schools. There is no specific mention of Welsh Medium proposals in the context of over capacity but if such a bid is not made then YG Cwm Rhymni will be circa 900 pupils over capacity by 2020. This is illustrated as follows:-




Moreover, if the bid proposal is not approved by WG, then future year 7 intakes to YG Cwm Rhymni will have to be severely restricted. This would likely amount to the following number of refusals: September 2013 intake September 2014 intake September 2015 intake September 2016 intake September 2017 intake September 2018 intake September 2019 intake September 2020 intake 25 refusals 25 refusals 120 refusals 110 refusals 160 refusals 180 refusals 160 refusals 150 refusals

It is also very unlikely that these pupils would gain admission to another Welsh Medium secondary school in other neighbouring authorities, thus resulting in the denial of parental preferences. 3.22 Whilst not specifically meeting the 21st century schools revised bid criteria, it is evident that meeting increasing Welsh Medium demand is a key strategy of WG, as evidenced in key policy documents such as Iaith Pawb, Welsh Medium Education Strategy and the proposed Education Bill in 2012. If our proposal is not approved then CCBC will be unable to comply with these WG policies and strategies. Indeed one of the key targets in the Welsh Medium Education Strategy is to increase the percentage of young people moving from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3 in Welsh Medium. CCBC has consistently out-performed these targets with essentially a transition of 100%. This will no longer be achieved in the future if additional secondary Welsh Medium places are not provided through the revised bid process. Welsh Medium St. Ilan 3.24 Demand for Welsh Medium education in the Caerphilly Basin presently equates to approximately 140 places per annum. This would typically amount to 700 pupils aged 11-16, based on present demand, with potential for post-16 provision. The establishment of a facility within the Basin would, therefore, clearly alleviate the pressure on YG Cwm Rhymni. The proposal will have, as a focus, meeting the demand for secondary places. This will form part of an overall strategy to develop a 3-16 campus with many shared facilities on site. The Fleur de Lys site would be the main 16-19 campus. Some post-16 provision could be developed on the St. Ilan campus with specific specialised subjects available on a single site or in a college setting, where appropriate. It is proposed that both the present Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni (YGCR) and St. Ilan campus would be federated under a single governing body. Strategic leadership of these federated schools would be carried out by a single Senior Management Team who would have overall responsibility for both sites. A single management structure would ensure continuity in leadership and effective administration. The schools would operate a single budget with related cost efficiency savings. Single management would ensure a shared vision for a pioneering, high quality Welsh medium educational provision where every pupil is able to achieve their potential. This would ensure effective development of pedagogy strategies aimed at developing the individual child. An individual child can develop more effectively if their needs are understood and the curriculum is tailored to their specific requirements. Effective collaborative leadership would ensure continuity across the curriculum and across key stages. This would also ensure an effective collaborative approach to transition across all






key stages involving all stakeholders. 3.29 If Welsh Medium 14-19 Learning Pathways are to be sustainable we must ensure sufficient high quality curriculum entitlement with suitable facilities, resources and personnel. A single collaborative structure would enable YGCR to build on their excellent cross border collaboration with Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, thus ensuring that the partnership is recognised as a 14-19 centre of excellence which will be available to the students of greater Gwent. Rhymney 3-18. New Primary build, plus improve community facilities 3.30 3.31 This scheme was submitted as 1 of the 12 Band A proposals in the original SOP in 2010. The bid proposal involves rationalising 3 existing Primary schools into 1 new one, and thereby removing circa net 100 Primary school places. The scheme also involves developing community facilities in an area of high social deprivation as well as upgrading existing facilities on the Rhymney Comprehensive site where the new school would be co-located. The proposal offers the potential for : 3.33 all age transformation local regeneration state of the art resources in the local community opportunities to explore new models of governance, e.g. federation.


The features of the 3 present primary schools are as follows : All 3 schools are amongst the smallest across the county borough with 2 of the 3 forecast to be below 120 pupils which was the trigger point for review as determined by the Stakeholder Group as a key principle of the SOP. A new school would likely comprise 12 classrooms plus nursery with an admission number of circa 48. This would be reviewed in the context of any likely new housing developments in the area. 2 of the 3 primary schools have forecast surplus places in excess of 25% by 2016. The estimated 25 year backlog maintenance figures attributed to the 3 schools amounts to just under 2m. 2 of the 3 school halls are undersized with 1 significantly so. All 3 school sites are undersized in accordance with building bulletin regulations, with 2 significantly undersized. Whilst one school has received fit for purpose adaptations in recent years due to a fall in pupil numbers, very few of the classrooms in the other 2 schools are size compliant and amongst the poorest across the county borough. 2 of the schools are in areas amongst the highest social deprivation across the county borough. All 3 are above the county borough average of 24.1%.


The condition factors presently associated with the 3 schools are B/C/C and it is envisaged that these would be replaced by 1 school with a condition rating of A.

Secondary Rationalisation 3.35 The SOP made provision for substantial secondary rationalisation in Bands B (2015-2018) and C (2018-2021) of the programme, which largely correspond to the revised Band A time period of 2014-2020. The remaining bid proposal relates to the 13 English Medium secondary schools. In contrast to the secondary Welsh medium increasing demand, the English Medium secondary pupil numbers are projected to fall from 10,981 (2010) to 9,317 (2020), an overall reduction of 1664 pupils. This is illustrated below:-



5 of the secondary schools are presently below the 750/900 thresholds as determined by the 21st century schools (key principles) process. This number increases to 12 by 2020, with only 2 secondary schools (1 English Medium and 1 Welsh Medium) projected to be above those thresholds by then. All 13 English medium secondary schools are expected to have a lower number of pupils by 2020. There are 2271 surplus places presently in English Medium secondary schools, which gradually increase to a projected level of 3935 by 2020. Based upon present capacity levels of these schools, the surplus places amount to 17% (2010) and 30% (2020) respectively. 3 English Medium secondary schools have more than 25% surplus places presently. This number increases to 10 by 2020. The English Medium secondary rationalisation proposals provide for a reduction in English Medium secondary schools from 13 to 10 and a 2,900 reduction overall in surplus places. This would be achieved by a combination of reconstruction and remodelling work, together with the removal of redundant buildings, alternative uses, mothballing, etc., to facilitate further reductions in surplus places. The key statistics associated with these proposals would be: 12 of the 13 schools are projected to be below the size thresholds determined by the Stakeholder Group as a key principle of the SOP, with 5 schools forecast to be substantially under this number.






10 of the 13 schools are projected to have surplus places in excess of 25% by 2020, with 2 of these schools forecast in excess of 60%. The 25 year backlog maintenance cost for the 12 schools (Lewis Pengam excluded as PFI school) amounts to 57.6m with a range from 1.7m to 9.2m.


In combination the schools presently have condition ratings of 2B, 10C and 1D. Following full rationalisation it is anticipated the condition ratings would be 2A, 6B and 2C as a minimum. When the detailed secondary proposals are developed, there will be a need to review school catchment areas.


4. 4.1

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS It is proposed to meet the 50% local authority contribution via a combination of the use of 10m earmarked funding for 21st century schools (already agreed as part of the Councils 2011/12 budget strategy), general fund, capital receipts and prudential borrowing, where a business case can be demonstrated. A summary of the bid together with the assumed funding sources are as detailed below : m 20 12 60


Proposal Welsh Medium St. Ilan Rhymney 3-18. New Primary build, plus improve community facilities Rationalisation of 13 Secondary schools into 10 with further removal of places on school sites Total 50/50 Funding LA requirement Funding Source Earmarked 21st century schools funding General Fund Capital receipts Prudential Borrowing (revenue savings school/Education & Leisure) Funding identified 4.3

92 46

10 4 27 5 46

The above table assumes the 20m Welsh Medium bid will be supported by WG with 50% match funding. If the Welsh Medium bid is not supported by WG and the costs are met fully by CCBC, this results in a shortfall of 10m. Members will have noted that the pupil projections for Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni begin to substantially exceed capacity by September 2013. At this stage, WG has not confirmed if any expenditure incurred on a project which is finally approved can be claimed retrospectively for any spend prior to 1 April 2014. To address the demand for September 2013, there is an urgent need to provide additional places by that date. This will require design and enabling works to commence early January 2012. In view of this, it is proposed to await WGs initial (in principle) announcement in early December and then seek Councils view on the recommended way forward for the provision of secondary Welsh Medium places.



5. 5.1

PERSONNEL IMPLICATIONS This will be dependant upon specific proposals and would be considered as part of the consultation process.

6. 6.1

CONSULTATIONS As detailed below. All comments received have been reflected in the report.

7. 7.1

RECOMMENDATIONS Cabinet is requested to approve the revised proposals as outlined in the report for submission as a recommendation to Council on 3 November and then to the WG by the due date of 18th November 2011.

8. 8.1

REASONS FOR THE RECOMMENDATIONS To conform with requirements to submit revised proposals to WG by 18 November 2011.

9. 9.1

STATUTORY POWER Local Government Acts 1972 and 2003 School Standards & Framework Act 1998 The One Wales Agreement (June 2007) The Learning Country: Vision in to Action (2006) Skills that Work for Wales (July 2008) Transforming Education & Training Provision in Wales (September 2008) Learning & Skills (Wales) Measure (2009) Welsh Medium Education Strategy, Welsh Government (April 2010). Bleddyn Hopkins, Assistant Director (Our Schools Our Future 21st Century Schools) E-mail: 21st Century schools Board Councillor P. Bevan, Cabinet Member for Education, Lifelong Learning & Leisure Nicole Scammell, Head of Corporate Finance Dan Perkins, Head of Legal Services

Author: Consultees:

Background Papers: 21st Century School files