John Summers High School plans set to be formerly scrapped tomorrow.
Flintshire County Council has said they will recommend plans for a replacement new school building at John Summers High School and refurbishment of Queensferry Primary School be scrapped.
An update on the Queensferry Campus Project will be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday, 17 February where its expected the plans will be formerly dropped.
The Council announced last year it was had stopped the project while a review was undertaken around the viability of the project, concern’s grew that the cost of a new school, around £18.5m, couldn’t be justified and a business case needed to support funding from the Welsh Government simply wouldn’t stack up.
Thousands of school places are already unfilled in Flintshire and with the projected fall in the number of pupils attending John Summers the council would not secure funding from the Welsh Government.
There’s been a rapid shift in demographics close to the school, many young families are moving away from the catchment area and cheap housing stock is being bought up by landlords who are then letting them out to more transient tenants, this has meant a big drop in the projected numbers of children locally who would use the schools.
Local residents are angry about the proposed decision and the possibility that the area may loose it’s schools, many feel it would further erode a community that is already one of the most deprived in Wales.
Work was due to begin on the new campus next July however a consultation process will now begin to look at the existing school’s future viability. Any proposed changes would be subject to full statutory consultation procedures.
The council statement says:
A review was undertaken as a result of updated information and a drop in actual and projected pupils numbers in the area.
Now that the review has been completed, the recommendation to Cabinet is to not proceed with a new school to replace John Summers High School, and to open a period of formal consultation on how best to secure resilient, sustainable, high quality education in the area.
Ian Budd, Chief Officer for Education and Youth, said:
“We do understand the level of disappointment within the community. However, we have a duty to ensure that public funding is used in the most efficient way possible to support learners. For a new school building programme to go ahead, and to secure capital funding, a business case has to meet a number of tests. We had to be confident that there will be sufficient pupil numbers for the immediate and future years of the school, and this was not found to be the case. ”
Cllr Chris Bithell, Cabinet Member for Education, said:
“The original plans were based on 600 secondary places, but there are insufficient current and projected future pupil numbers to support this. Whilst last week’s confirmation of the planned link road through the Northern Gateway development site is very welcome, it doesn’t change the level of housing development capable of being made there or the assessed need for local school places – and the completion of the development is some years away. This is further compounded by a predicted drop in birth rates.
“The governing body has expressed a view that they wished to avoid a prolonged period of uncertainty for the school and local community. The next stage, subject to Cabinet approval on Tuesday, will be to open a formal consultation to look at the existing school’s future viability. Any proposed changes would be subject to full statutory consultation procedures.
“This decision also means that the earlier decision to incorporate Nursery Class provision within Queensferry Primary School as a 3 to 11 school would remain in place.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com