Issue - meetings

Proposal to Consult on Pen y Cwm Capacity increase

Meeting: 01/04/2021 - Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)

5 Proposal to Consult on Pen y Cwm Capacity increase pdf icon PDF 576 KB

To consider the report of the Corporate Director of Education.

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A Member referred to a conflict of interest as some Members of this Committee were also Members of the Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee.  The Director of Education said that, in his opinion, there would not be a conflict of interest as the discussion would cover the potential for remodelling of the current Pen y Cwm School building but would not focus on details from a planning perspective and felt that Members could engage and offer their views and opinions around the proposal. 


Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education which was presented to seek the views of Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee, in relation to the proposal to extend the capacity of Pen y Cwm Special School from 120 to 175 pupils, accommodating the demand for places. Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee will be a statutory consultee, should proposal to proceed to consultation be granted by Executive Committee.


The Director of Education introduced the report and highlighted the main points contained therein. 


The Director of Education highlighted an amendment in the report to paragraph 2.13 in that the consultation is to conclude on Sunday 6th June 2021, not 6th May as identified in the report.


A Member enquired regarding additional staff if the school reached its fully capacity.  The Director of Education said any additional staffing implications could be dealt with in the potential differential between the current budget and the proposed budget, which would be an additional £575,000, dependent upon the needs of learners, that component of budget would potentially need to fund additional staff to support learners in the setting.


A Member raised concerns regarding the small number of out of county placements being accommodated.  The Education Transformation Manager said that the initial review had been undertaken by the Inclusion team, however, a more detailed review would be required going forward.  Out of county placements were determined upon the needs and circumstances associated with each individual pupil and upon the initial review it was anticipated that the maximum number, at this point in time, that could be brought back into the Local Authority was 5.  Where there was capacity and the individual pupil’s needs could be met within the Local Authority then the team would look to bring more out of county placements back to the Local Authority.


In relation to capacity the Director of Education informed Members that in the short term capacity was 175 pupils, phase 2 would consider the more medium to long term arrangements and the potential to further increase capacity in subsequent years.


A Member enquired if the capacity of 175 pupils would be sufficient in the near future or would the school be oversubscribed again with the increase in the number of ALN pupils.  The Director of Education said the focus was on dealing with demand in the foreseeable future, but moving forward capacity at the school would need to be reviewed as part of phase 2.  The Education Transformation Manager added that the focus was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5