The future for Wrexham’s two ‘Super Schools’ will be discussed by the Council Executive Board next week before going to public consultation.
The Executive Board will meet on Tuesday to discuss the options that are available for both Ysgol Clywedog and Ysgol Rhosnesni, which include helping the schools improve on their current status or merging together to create a ‘Through School’.
Earlier this year both Ysgol Rhosnesni and Ysgol Clywedog were placed under special measures by Estyn – Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales. The two schools were placed under special measures as their performance and their prospects for improvement were seen as ‘unsatisfactory’. Academic results at both schools showed limited improvement in Summer 2013 compared to the previous year.
In the Executive Board report it states: “Both schools have developed an action plan to address the criticisms raised, and Estyn monitors these action plans on a termly basis to assess progress. Findings from their first monitoring visits have found that Ysgol Rhonsnesni has made insufficient progress, and that Ysgol Clywedog has made suitable progress but that work is at an early stage and has yet to have the desired effect.”
Ysgol Clywedog and Ysgol Rhosnesi were opened in 2001 and 2003 respectively when three of the town centre schools were ‘reorganised due to the falling number of pupils and the need to invest in and update existing school buildings.’ However as of September of this year, neither school had over a hundred first choice applications for Yr 7 places, despite each school having places for over 200 pupils.
In total there are three options for the secondary schools that would run as part of a consultation period with local residents. The first option is ‘Support and Challenge existing schools’, which would mean that the two schools would remains as two community focused secondary schools, but would be ‘supported and challenged’ to improve their current status. This option would allow the two schools to focus on their specific action plans to address the recommendations made by Estyn and would create the least amount of disruption for learners in the short term.
A second option would be to create ‘Through schools’ for those aged between three and 16 years old. This would mean that primary school provision would be provided at either, or both of the two schools, resulting in infant, junior and secondary students being taught on the same campus. Within this the students would be educated in separated parts of the campus, but teaching and resources within the school would be shared.
The final option to be create a single ‘Through school’ that would cater for those aged between three and 16 years old and would be based across the two campuses (the Ysgol Clywedog and Ysgol Rhosnesi sites).
In the report it states that this third option would: “Bring many of the same benefits as option 2 but would reintroduce a point of transition, albeit allowing the transition to be moved back from age 11 to a point at which young people are more able and ready to adapt. This transition could also be designed as step towards a further education culture that would help prepare young people to remain in education and progress to Coleg Cambria or similar opportunities.”
A consultation period with residents from Wrexham on the three proposed options will take place, with the preferred option being presented to the Exec Board in March 2014.
However if the Exec Board choose to ‘pursue an option that will significantly change the way that schools are run, a detailed consultation will be held on the preferred option.’ This would run up until June of next year.
A full copy of the Council report can be found on the Council website here…