Secondary School proposals go out to consultation

Following a review of all secondary schools in the local authority, a secondary school strategy was unanimously agreed by Full Council and Cabinet in 2008. The strategy identifies Keynsham and Bath as the areas where changes need to take place. The Council is consulting on these proposals, and will make a final decision on changes in July.

The public has already told the Council they want more co-education places and improved facilities. Although we already have some of best Schools in the country, we must continue to improve of school buildings and give our young people the best possible environment in which to learn.

What this means for Bath(proposals for Keynsham are at the end of this post)
In Bath, the proposal is to further raise standards and improve the quality of schools buildings, reduce the number of schools with surplus places and create the right size schools which are educationally and financially viable. The proposal will increase the number of co-educational places available. Steps will also be taken to make sure there are sufficient church school places and that parents still have the option to send their child to a single sex school.

No changes are proposed to Beechen Cliff and Hayesfield Schools which will provide the choice of single sex boys and girls places for parents. No changes are proposed to Ralph Allen and St Gregory’s Catholic College.

To achieve the overall strategy for Bath, Oldfield, Culverhay and St Mark’s will be closed and two new schools will be opened.

Information on the counsultation process can be found below:

The process

The Council has applied to the Government’s Building Schools for the Future Programme to fund these changes. However, if funding is delayed, we will look to fund these changes from our own resources.

Stage 1

The Council undertook a review of schools provision across the local authority to help set an overall secondary school strategy. The strategy identified Bath and Keynsham as areas where change is required.

Stage 2

The Council is consulting on the proposals outlined in the secondary schools strategy for specific changes to individual schools or groups of schools. Consultation with parents, teachers and pupils on specific proposals to expand, close or open schools will take place from March 2010. The Cabinet will then make decisions on changes such as school closures, school expansions or opening new schools in Bath and Keynsham in July. New schools will require further consultation, but changes such as expansion of schools can go ahead at this stage.

Stage 3

The third stage in the process, is that decisions to build new schools must be open to ‘competition’ to decide who will run the new school and the Secretary of State can allow new Church Schools to go ahead at this stage.
The earliest that any changes would take place is September 2011.

The Council is working closely with schools to make sure these changes are managed carefully and sensitively and minimise any disruption. Consultation booklets will be sent to all schools, pupils and the wider community in late March. The public will also have the chance to have their say through the e-consult pages on the Council Website and through Public meetings.
What this means for Keynsham

In Keynsham, the proposal is for a single secondary school for Keynsham. This will be achieved by closing Broadlands school and expanding Wellsway. This will provide more opportunities for all young people in the town and enable community facilities such as the new sports facilities at Wellsway school to be available for community use.

Half the pupils who attend school in Keynsham come from other local authorities. This has cost implications, with the Council paying for maintenance of two school buildings rather than one, with less to spend on high quality modern facilities. The majority of Broadlands pupils return to Bristol after GCSE, and a single school with a large sixth form would be able to better meet the needs of all pupils. Even with housing planned in the Regional Spatial Strategy, projections show that a single school in Keynsham could meet current and future pupil numbers.

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