Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Ann Holmes
The Chair welcomed all those present to this meeting of the Corporate Scrutiny Committee and he extended a particular welcome to Mr Dafydd Jones, Chair of the Governing Body of Ysgol Corn Hir and to Mr Gareth Parry, a member of the Governing Body of Ysgol Bodffordd who were both present to make representations in relation to the business under item 2 on the agenda. Members and Officers introduced themselves and the Chair explained the process that would be followed in dealing with item 2 on the agenda.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declaration of interest by any Member or Officer in respect of any item of business.
Councillor Dylan Rees declared a personal but not prejudicial interest with regard to item 2 on the agenda as the Vice-Chair of the governing body of Ysgol Bodffordd.
To present the report of the Director of Education, Skills and Young People.
The report of the Director of Education, Skills and Young People with regard to the schools’ modernisation programme in relation to the Llangefni area was presented for the Committee’s consideration. The report set out the responses to the statutory consultation held in February/March 2020 on Ysgol Corn Hir and Ysgol Bodffordd and sought the Committee’s views on the recommendation that the most appropriate way forward following the statutory consultation is the other reasonable alternative which is to build a new school for Ysgol Corn Hir and leave Ysgol Bodffordd as it is.
The Portfolio Member for Education, Libraries, Culture and Youth introduced the report with general remarks about the Schools’ Modernisation Programme which in this case involves weighing and assessing the future of Ysgol Corn Hir and Ysgol Bodffordd and the consequent impact on all the stakeholders, and in particular the children at the two school whose interests and well-being should be the predominant consideration. Modernising schools can be a contentious issue and is among the most challenging aspects of the Council’s work; parents’ concerns on this matter are understandable and appreciated. The schools’ modernisation programme sets the groundwork for the future of schools over the next 50 years at a time when they are under pressure from budgetary cuts, burdensome maintenance costs and meeting the requirements of the New Curriculum to which can now be added the impact of Covid. The Council is duty bound to consider how the school system can be made more effective in the sense of creating the conditions under which teachers and pupils can flourish and also how it can be made more efficient in terms of making the best use of resources and ensuring that all schools receive their fair share of the budget. The Schools’ Modernisation Strategy which was updated in October, 2018 links into the Council’s major strategies and priorities as set out in section 2 of the introductory report and this proposal spans Band A and Band B in the Strategy’s timetable.
Between 6 February and 20 March, 2020 a statutory consultation on the future of the two schools in question was held. Officials were authorised to carry out the consultation after the Corporate Scrutiny Committee and the Executive considered the proposal paper in January, 2020.The consultation closed on the last day of school before the first lockdown period as a result of the global pandemic that transformed education provision for a time. The Portfolio Member said that it is important to note that the Council has received a letter from the School Organisation and Admissions Branch of Welsh Government confirming that Welsh Government Ministers are giving the Council an extension until March, 2021 to publish any proposal. The Council has operated in accordance with the School Organisation Code 2018 throughout the pandemic period.
The key drivers for change as set out in the Schools’ Modernisation Strategy 2018 include improving educational standards; improving leadership and management; ensuring that school buildings are fit for purpose; reducing the number of surplus ... view the full minutes text for item 2.