Y Berwyn catchment area Statutory Consultation

At the meeting on 24 October 2017, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet resolved to undertake a process of statutory consultation on the future of schools in the Berwyn catchment area; namely Ysgol Beuno Sant, Ysgol Bro Tegid and Ysgol Y Berwyn.

The statutory consultation document, background pack and all relevant documents are available on below:

If you require hard copies of any document please contact us by calling (01286) 679247 or e-mailing modernisingeducation@gwynedd.gov.uk.

The statutory consultation period runs from 22 November 2017 until 13:00 on 10 January 2018.

Please ensure that any comments on the proposal arrive at the Modernising Education Office by 13:00 on 10 January 2018.

Please note­ – Gwynedd Council will be holding a drop in session at Ysgol y Berwyn, Y Bala on the 6 of December 2017. For more information on this event, see the statutory consultation document (page 7).

Statutory Consultation 2015 (archive)

Discussions commenced in the Berwyn catchment in 2009, and in May 2011, following a period of statutory consultation, Gwynedd Council decided to:

  • close Ysgol Y Parc, and make improvements to Ysgol OM Edwards, Llanuwchllyn
  • close Ysgol Beuno Sant, Ysgol Bro Tegid and Ysgol Y Berwyn, and establish a Lifelong Learning school for pupils aged 3-19 in Bala.

Ysgol Y Parc closed in August 2013, and improvements were made to Ysgol OM Edwards by September 2013.  However, work to finalise school reorganisation and establish a Learning Campus in Y Bala did not proceed, due to changes in Welsh Government school capital investment programme.

Subsequently, and following conducting a review of the plans for the catchment area, in its meeting on 19 February 2015, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet decided to proceed with a Statutory Consultation on a proposal to close Ysgol y Berwyn, Ysgol Beuno Sant and Ysgol Bro Tegid and establish a 3-19 Learning Campus, Welsh Medium, Voluntary Controlled (VC, Church in Wales) on the current site of  Ysgol y Berwyn.

Following undertaking a period of Statutory Consultation from 13 March to 28 April 2015, comments received were presented to the Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet on 2 June 2015. After giving careful consideration to the comments received, at their meeting on the 2nd of June 2015 Cabinet Members decided to continue with the proposal and approve publishing a Statutory Notice and proceed to holding an Objection Period from 17 June – 15 July 2015. The objections received during this period were presented in a report to Cabinet 15 September 2015 and the Council’s Cabinet Members decided as follows:

“i. To implement the proposal to close Ysgol Bro Tegid, Ysgol Beuno Sant and Ysgol y Berwyn in Bala on 31 August 2018 and establish a 3-19 Learning Campus, Welsh-medium, Voluntary Controlled, (VC, Church in Wales), (“The Campus”), on the existing Ysgol y Berwyn site to open on 1 September 2018.

 ii. That Gwynedd Council will conduct a review of the school’s performance which will include a review of the quality of education provided, educational progress, the pupils’ social and cultural experiences, the use of resources, and any effect of the Voluntary Controlled, (VC, Church in Wales), category on the above following two years from the opening date of the Campus. This will include consulting with parents, prospective parents and residents of the area in order to reach an opinion on the suitability of the education and the church status.”


Cabinet’s Decision 27 June 2017

On Tuesday, 27 June 2017, Gwynedd Council Cabinet decided to withdraw the proposal approved on 15 September 2015, namely the proposal to close Ysgol y Berwyn, Ysgol Beuno Sant and Ysgol Bro Tegid and establish a 3-19 Learning Campus, Welsh Medium, Voluntary Controlled (VC, Church in Wales) on the current site of Ysgol y Berwyn, in accordance with section  55 (5) of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. 

The Cabinet considered the responses received from the catchment-area’s governing bodies to the consultation held with them in March 2017, as well as the supportive correspondence by the Diocese of St Asaph Diocese in deciding how to move the project forward.

It was decided to withdraw the proposal on the grounds that it would be unreasonably difficult and inappropriate to implement the proposal due to the governors’ lack of support for the current proposal to establish a 3-19 Learning Campus, Voluntary Controlled (VC, Church in Wales) in the town of Bala. It became evident that there was considerable opposition in the community to proceed with the plan for a school with a Church status.  It was considered that the governing bodies’ objection to the status and to collaborate on the plan posed a fundamental risk to the project’s success.  

Prior Reorganisation Process (archive)

The Berwyn Catchment area review commenced during Autumn 2009.

The Berwyn Catchment Review Panel was established to assist the Education Portfolio Leader to draft proposals for school reorganisation in the catchment. The Catchment Review Panel included representatives from the schools in the district, including the head teacher, chair of governors and parent governors of all primary and secondary schools, local area Councillors as well as a representative from the Diocese of St Asaph. An invitation was extended to others at the request of the Catchment Review Panel.

A series of Catchment Review Panel meetings were held between 04/11/09 and 12/05/10. Papers and minutes from these meetings can be found in the attachments below. Meetings were also held with individual schools in order to explain the latest news to all school staff and to provide opportunity for their comments and questions.

At the end of the discussion period the Education Portfolio Leader presented her proposals for the area to the Council's democratic cycle. Her proposals were approved and a statutory consultation period was arranged.


Statutory Consultation

A statutory consultation period was held in the Berwyn catchment between 13 December 2010 and February 2011and a statutory consultation document was developed in accordance with the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.

 

A number of comments were received and a  report was presented to Full Council 12/05/11 and it was decided:

(i) In order to facilitate the establishment of the proposed Lifelong Learning Campus, to approve the proposal to close Ysgol y Berwyn, Ysgol Beuno Sant and Ysgol Bro Tegid on 31 August 2015 and to issue statutory notices to that effect in accordance with Section 29 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.

(ii) To approve the proposal to establish a Community School on the sites of Ysgol y Berwyn and Ysgol Beuno Sant to admit pupils within the 3-19 age range as part of the establishment of a new Lifelong Learning Campus in the town of Bala, to open on 1 September 2015, and to issue statutory notices to that effect in accordance with Section 28 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998.

(iii) To approve the proposal to close Ysgol y Parc by 31 August 2012, and to provide places to children in the catchment area at Ysgol O M Edwards, Llanuwchllyn, after completing upgrading works at Ysgol O M Edwards and issuing statutory notices in accordance with Section 28 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 to that end.

(iv) To issue the Statutory Notices referred to in (i), (ii) and (iii) above when the capital funding package has been confirmed.


During this period the way in which the Welsh Government fund large scale building projects changed.

In the Full Council meeting held on 01/03/2012 a decision to release a Statutory Notice on proposal (iii) was approved, namely to close Ysgol Y Parc, Bala.

The Statutory Notice to close Ysgol Y Parc was released on 05/03/2012 and a period of 1 month is given to receive any objections. A copy of the Statutory Notice can be found attached on the bottom of this page.

Following receipt of a number of objections to the Statutory Notice the Council were required to refer the mater in its entirety to the Welsh Government Minister for Education and Skills for a final decision. The Welsh Government state that they aim to announce a final decision on school reorganisation proposals within 7 months.


Decision

The Welsh Government confirmed its decision on the proposal to close Ysgol Y Parc in September 2012. Leighton Andrews, the Welsh Minister for Education and Skills decided as follows:

“The Minister has decided to approve the proposal to close Ysgol y Parc and, subject to parental preference, transfer pupils to Ysgol O M Edwards on the grounds that it will:

  • at least maintain and very likely improve the standard of education provision overall in the area and should ensure delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum for all affected age groups;
  • allow pupils who attend or would otherwise have attended Ysgol y Parc access to education at a suitable alternative school which is within a reasonable distance; and
  • assist the local authority in providing a financially sustainable pattern of well maintained schools.”


Implementation

Following the Welsh Government’s approval to the proposal to close Ysgol Y Parc, the upgrading works at Ysgol OM Edwards have been implemented.

Following a significant investment of £1 million Ysgol OM Edwards welcomed pupils from the newly formed catchment, from the Llanuwchllyn and Parc areas in September 2013 under the leadership of Dilys Ellis-Jones, Headteacher. Significant work and effort has been made to ensure that the area's children have a school of excellent standard which provides an educational environment appropriate for the 21st Century. Children who live in Y Parc area are automatically within the new OM Edwards School Catchment area.

Ysgol Y Parc officially closed on 31 August 2013.