Consultation on consultation to begin
10:02am Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
A CONSULTATION on whether to hold a consultation on the arguments for and against a mixed sex English language secondary school launches on Monday, September 9.
The Vale Council is seeking to gauge demand for the idea of creating a single school which it is believed could cater for up to 3000 pupils with the lower school, potentially created on the current girls school Bryn Hafren site and the upper school on the current all boys, Barry Comprehensive site.
There are currently 1,160 pupils at Barry Comprehensive and 1,204 at Bryn Hafren Comprehensive and it is believed the creation of a single school would mean the town would have one of the largest schools – by numbers – in the UK.
A proposal to combine both schools was discussed at a cabinet meeting in July this year.
The consultation, which ends on Friday, October 25 will ask the question:”Is there demand for a new mixed sex secondary school in Barry?”
It aims to ask parents and pupils, both current and future, as well as school staff and other interested people whether they would support, in principle, a change to mixed secondary schooling in Barry.
Respondents will have the option to expand on their views if they wish.
No final decision will be made based on this consultation, the Council said.
A Vale Council spokeswoman said: “No work on the detailed arrangements for how the two schools could be combined has been carried out as yet. The council does not want to commit time and money to develop these arrangements until it has been established that there is support for the proposal amongst the community.
“If the results of this initial consultation confirm that there is support for the proposal, a second more detailed consultation, which would include detailed information on how the merger would happen, would be undertaken.”
The Barry & District News has already asked how much, should a favourable response be gained, changes would cost and from where the funding would be sourced, following concerns residents would not be aware of issues potentially arising out of the scheme.
The Barry & District News also asked what would need to be done at Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren to bring both sites in line with disability legislation and what arrangements would be made regarding staffing provision.
Would there need to be a head teacher at each site? Would there be an executive head teacher in addition to two? Or an overall head teacher based at one site?
Questions were also raised about what facilities would need to be replicated or uprooted such as a beauty salon, fitness facilities and climbing wall and whether Barry youngsters could still opt to attend St Cyres Comprehensive in Penarth.
Also of interest was whether funding the school changes would impact on Welsh-medium secondary Ysgol Bro Morgannwg and Vale primary school budgets, and whether land would need to be sold to developers as a capital receipt for the project.
During consultation time community drop-in sessions will be held at Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren comprehensive schools where local people will be able to find out more about the proposal, and discuss their views with officers and councillors.
The results of the consultation will be discussed by the council’s cabinet in December.