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PCC pushes for no closures in school reform

Created on 30/11/2010 @ 16:48
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Powys councillors are recommending that all secondary school sites should stay open. This is one of the recommendations following a detailed review into secondary and post-16 education in the county.

Powys County Council’s Board, at its meeting on Tuesday (December 7), will be asked to consider the outcomes of a review tasked to meet the increasing challenges faced by secondary schools and Coleg Powys of providing more choice and improving quality under severe budget pressure.

A number of recommendations will be considered which propose innovative ways of providing secondary and post-16 education, building on the excellent work taking place between the schools and the college.
These include:

- Ensuring that secondary education is protected and maintained on all 13 school sites.  This will be done by reorganising and streamlining the management structure of schools so that a head teacher would take responsibility for a school on two, or more, sites.  This could mean having seven secondary schools on 13 sites. This arrangement could be extended to include primary provision as well.

- reorganising Welsh medium education by consolidating the provision at a minimum of three schools.

Two recommendations for post-16 education are being put forward.  These include:

- transforming how post-16 education is delivered by setting up a new innovative partnership between Powys County Council and Coleg Powys, working closely with schools and other providers.  This will include a review of the number and location of sites from which post-16 learning will be delivered.

- consideration as to whether all post-16 learning should be managed by Coleg Powys, as the main provider of post-16 learning in the county;

As part of the overall review of education in Powys, the Authority is working with its three Special Schools to review the future provision of Additional Learning Needs education across the county.

If approved, the recommendations, which have been put forward by the Learning in the Community Programme Board, will be the subject of a four month consultation.  The Board will consider the outcome and implications of the consultation in summer 2011.

Board Member for Schools, Councillor David Jones said: “Our plans for the future shape of secondary and post-16 education in Powys have reached a crucial stage. We have spent a long time looking at the challenges facing both the schools and Coleg Powys now and into the future.

“The Learning in the Community Programme Board has been considering a range of possible options in detail, including the closure of schools. We have listened to comments received following the publication of our discussion document in the summer and feel that the best way forward for our learners and their communities is to make sure that education is at the heart of those communities.

“We have identified a number of proposals that we believe could form the basis of a thriving education and training sector in Powys.

“But, that does not mean we have made up our mind, we will be taking the recommendations to every secondary school in the county and seeking the views of all interested parties.

“There will be full consultation with staff, pupils, parents, governing bodies and a wide-range of community groups. All views will be carefully considered and fully debated by the council before any final decisions are made.”

Coleg Powys principal Simon Pirotte said: “Around half of the post 16 provision in Powys is delivered by the College and we are keen to continue to play our part in contributing to the excellent work of all training and educational establishments in the County. The challenge is one of sustaining high aspirations and excellence for the people of Powys through the difficult financial and demographic challenges facing all organisations now and into the future.”

Details of the recommendations being presented to the Board are available on the council’s website.

The recommendations will be considered by the county council’s Board at a meeting at County Hall on Tuesday (December 7).
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