Venue: Council Chamber - Port Talbot Civic Centre. View directions
Appointment of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson
Agreed that Councillor A.L.Thomas be appointed Chairperson for the meeting.
Agreed that Councillor A.N.Woolcock be appointed Vice Chairperson for the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
The following Members made a declaration of interest at the commencement of the meeting:
The Committee chose to scrutinise the following Cabinet items:
3.1 Strategic School Improvement Programme - Future Of Secondary Education In The Upper Afan Valley
(Cllr.R.Mizen re-affirmed his interest at this point and withdrew from the meeting)
(Cllr.D.Whitelock re-affirmed his interest at this point and withdrew from the meeting)
Members received information in relation to the proposal to make arrangements for pupils who would otherwise attend Cymer Afan Comprehensive School to receive their secondary education at a new build school in Margam, Ysgol Cwm Brombil, and to close Cymer Afan Comprehensive, as detailed within the circulated report.
It was highlighted that a publication of the proposal provides a 28day period for the submission of objections to the proposal, therefore any responses that were received in relation to the consultation would not be considered unless re-submitted as part of the statutory objection process.
(Cllr.M.Ellis entered the meeting and declared his interest at this point)
The three Ward Members were in attendance at the meeting and addressed the Committee.
They highlighted their disappointment in the proposal to close Cymer Afan Comprehensive School and felt that questions that had been submitted during the consultation period had not been answered. They went on to state that they consider the proposal to be based around finance without having consideration for the impact that the closure of the school would have on the community. It was highlighted that other local areas of the community, such as the swimming pool and community centre, have previously been closed and stated that it was unfair to consider closing the school as well as the other facilities and to consider the effect that this would have on the wider community.
Attention was drawn to the level of deprivation within the Ward and the high level of need of the children in the Afan Valley in relation to those in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM), and Statements of Educational Need (SEN.) Due to these additional needs the Ward Members stated that it is inevitable that the costs of educating these pupils would be higher than average.
The Ward Members were concerned about the amount of time allocated to study, sport and recreation and family that the pupils would miss out on due to the amount of extra time that would be spent travelling to and from the proposed new school site at Margam. Officers explained that there are many pupils across the County Borough who already experience similar travel times to and from school and do not seem to experience any detriment.
Members asked for assurances in relation to travelling in the cases of severe weather. It was highlighted that stringent policies are already in place and it was reiterated that safety is always the paramount consideration. Officers reassured Members that the potential different weather situations in the Afan Valley to the town areas has been taken in to consideration.
The school federation model was discussed and Ward Members were concerned that ... view the full minutes text for item 3.