Posted: Tue 15th Sep 2015

UPDATE: No change John Summers High to close

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 15th, 2015


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Update: 

No change of heart from the council, the recommendation will be referred to the Welsh Government ‘rubber stamping’

Earlier story:

The future of John Summers High School goes back before Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet today.

The Cabinet Committee will decide whether or not to proceed with plans to close the school at a meeting at County Hall, Mold today. 

The Cabinet, which is made up of eight senior councillors including Flintshire Council leader Aaron Shotton previously voted 6-1 in favour of the schools closure.

If as is widely expected, the vote goes the same way, a report will be sent to the Welsh Minister for Education and a 28 day notice period for objections will be published.

It’s highly likely today’s meeting at County Hall will be the last public meeting about the future of John Summers held at Mold.

The Education Overview and Scrutiny Committee which met last month, bounced the closure plan back to the Cabinet due to concerns from the community over transition plans for pupils, transport to and from alternative schools including costs, and the need for assurance about the future use of the site.

The Cabinet will discuss plans for pupil transition from John Summers to Connah’s Quay High School and Saltney St David’s, they will also discuss home to school transport options, and commit to a full public consultation on the future use of the site, should the school be closed, including the options for open space and fields in trust protection.

The pre-meeting report recommends the Cabinet Reaffirms it’s previous decision to refer the proposal of closure of the Sixth Form at John Summers High School from 31st August 2016 and closure of the School from 31st August 2017 to the Welsh Government.

Full details of the meeting can be found here

How we got here.

The original plan for John Summers High School was to invest millions building a new school on the site of the school, driven in part by a projected increase in pupils into the school from the proposed Northern Gateway project, housing on the site appears to be years off still.

Despite spending nearly £75,000* on planning and consultant fees the Council put the school modernisation project on hold after data ‘emerged’ suggesting a new school was no longer viable.

The Council cited the increasing number of unfilled school places, around 2113 within Flintshire secondary schools, and a predicted decline in birth rate.

In the end the £18.5m plan didnt go before the Welsh Goverment as the ‘business case’ needed to support funding from the Welsh Government simply did’nt stack up.

Parents with children at JSH in 2017 will now have a choose between Connah’s Quay High School or Saltney St Davids, unsurprisingly the nearest secondary school to John Summers, Hawarden High is over-subscribed for many years to come.

Connah’s Quay High School will be the main receiving school, the council say projections for 2017 show there will by 300 unfilled places at the school, around the same number of year 7 to 13’s currently at JSH,  the council say St David’s in Saltney, the other option, will have 300 spare places in 2017.

Transport to and from either school would not be automatically subsidised by the council due to Connahs’ Quay being less than the three miles away, St David’s Saltney isn’t the nearest alternative school, so again responsibility would be on hard-pressed parents to pay for transport or drive them to school, adding to the already over congested morning and afternoon school run in Deeside.

*Figures from an FOI request.

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