Save Llancarfan School

The 'Save Llancarfan School' Campaign website 2018

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is proposing to build a new 210 place primary school in Rhoose and relocate Llancarfan Primary School – meaning closure of a School that has existed in the village since 1875, negatively impacting upon two communities within the Vale, and setting a dangerous precedent that could impact all rural schools in Wales.


18TH MARCH 2019

As expected, at their meeting today Cabinet voted 5-1 to proceed with their proposals and now passes to Welsh Assembly Government.

However, following the meeting, Leader John Thomas asked Gordon Kemp to leave the Cabinet.  Cllr Kemp was the only one to vote against the school proposals.  He has issued this statement to us:

“I was this afternoon informed by Cllr John Thomas that I was being ‘removed’ from the Vale’s Cabinet, as a result of my abstaining on the setting of the Council’s budget on 8th March. As I am sure you are aware 4 members of the Conservative Group voted against the budget on 27th February over the closure of Llancarfan School. No attempt was made to resolve the issue with them but the Leader came to a deal with Labour to ensure that a budget was passed. Together with 10 Conservative colleagues, I did not feel able to support a Labour influenced budget and we all abstained. With Labour support the budget was passed.
Fundamentally, it was the opposition to the school’s closure that led to this action and my ‘removal’. I would wish to assure everyone that I will continue to do my best to save the school. I remain a councillor and will as always endeavour to represent your interests.”

CLLR GORDON KEMP

Please be aware the process is not over, and can still be challenged/overturned with support of our elected local councillors and is being taken up with Welsh Assembly Government.


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Update 14th November – The Action Committee has received an anonymous donation kindly given for half of the costs of pursuing judicial review (i.e. £30k of the £60k required) if the community would be willing to pledge the rest. Thank you to those who have already pledged their support.


BBC Wales Today (Evening News) – Friday 7th September 2018

(Click the Speaker symbol in the bottom right of video to enable audio)
Footage © BBC MMXVIII


LATEST UPDATES

  • 12TH MARCH 2019
    Scrutiny have said they’re sending this back to Cabinet for their determination, adding in their disappointment that Cabinet did not go back to engage with the community as previously suggested.  Cabinet next meet on 18th March at 2pm. If a decision is not made by 25th March at the latest (Section 4.7 of objection report) the proposal is deemed to be withdrawn and any new proposal (even if it is exactly the same) must go through the entire statutory process again. Officers are getting twitchy and are trying to push this through!
  • 4TH MARCH 2019
    Unsurprisingly, the Cabinet voted today to continue with their proposal.  Cllr Kemp did propose a delay of 12 months to look at options, but this was rejected by his colleagues.
    The matter will now go to the Learning & Culture Scrutiny Committee next Tuesday (12th March) and we hope that they will properly challenge the educational and business case for the new school.
    The objection report presented by Officers today was a lengthy rehash of their previous selective reports and did not properly address the concerns raised or adequately consider alternative options.  At a time when the Vale of Glamorgan Council is facing a difficult budget decision later this week, it does seem a waste of tax-payer’s money to proceed with building a new school with significant surplus places, which will also divide the community in Rhoose to the detriment of Rhws Primary.
    By not properly holding officers to account the Cabinet has let down people right across the Rhoose ward, set a dangerous precedent which endangers all rural school communities throughout Wales, and as an Action Committee we will continue to explore options for a legal challenge as well take the matter up directly with Welsh Government.
  • 24TH FEBRUARY 2019
    The Council Cabinet will be discussing the School’s objection report on Monday 4th March 2019 at 2pm in County Hall, Barry.  Public welcome to attend so please do so if you’re able!  Please also write, once again, to all the Conservative councillors to help them encourage their Cabinet colleagues to see sense and reverse their current direction to close/transfer the school site in the village.
  • 14TH FEBRUARY 2019
    Andrew RT Davies has been elected.
  • 13TH FEBRUARY 2019
    Ahead of tomorrow’s vote, Bro Radio interviewed each candidate.  You can find them at http://podcast.canstream.co.uk/broradio/index.php?id=703– Vote John Hartland from 7 mins 20 secs
    – Samantha Campbell for Rhoose from 18 mins 35 secs
    – Andrew RT Davies from 28 mins 55 secs
    All candidates were asked for their opinions on the Llancarfan School proposals made by Vale of Glamorgan Council, and all rejected the proposals to transfer the School and pledged their support for the campaign to save it. You can hear more about their plans to try to save it in their interviews.
  • 21ST JANUARY 2019
    By-Election candidates are:
    – Samantha Campbell (Independent)
    – Andrew RT Davies (Welsh Conservative Party)
    – John Hartland (Welsh Labour)
  • 17TH JANUARY 2019
    Glamorgan Gem has reported today that Andrew RT Davies is standing in the Rhoose by-election on 14th February, “on a platform of saving Llancarfan School and providing a strong voice for Rhoose and the surrounding area on the Council.”  He will be holding a meeting for residents in Llancarfan Village Hall on Monday 4th February at 7pm.
  • 10TH JANUARY 2019
    The by-election has been called for Thursday 14th February 2019.  Candidates will be announced 21st January.
  • 13TH DECEMBER 2018
    Cllr Matt Lloyd, representing the Rhoose ward, has resigned from the Council due to the Council’s proposals to ‘transfer’ Llancarfan School, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent for small rural schools in Wales”.  More at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45867863.  This will force a by-election in the Ward.
  • 3RD DECEMBER 2018
    Another error by the Council! The email address for objections was linked on the Council’s website to JJones@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk but should have been JMJones@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk.  Please check and re-submit your objections to the correct address if necessary.
  • 23RD NOVEMBER 2018
    Llancarfan School was, once again, topic of discussion in the Senedd this week with both Jane Hutt and Andrew RT Davies raising concerns.  We thank them both for their continued support.
  • 22ND NOVEMBER 2018
    Yesterday Kirsty Williams made an announcement on the split of 21st Century Band B funding changing from 50/50 to 65% Welsh Government and 35% local authority with effect from April next year.You can read more here: ow.ly/9rUI30mHrUP
  • 5TH NOVEMBER 2018
    The Vale of Glamorgan have, today, published their Statutory Notice on the ‘transfer’ (closure) of Llancarfan school. The notice period will now run for 28 days (5th Nov-3rd Dec 2018).Objections should be sent to JMJones@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk or in writing to Paula Ham (Director of Learning and Skills), The Vale of Glamorgan Council, Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry CF63 4RU
  • 1ST NOVEMBER 2018
    The Welsh Assembly Government code to protect rural schools from closure came in to effect today.
  • 29TH OCTOBER 2018
    A call-in was submitted by Cllr Matt Lloyd (Conservative) on Friday 26th October was rejected, therefore the process will proceed to a 28 day statutory notice period where staff, governors, parents and the community can formally object to the proposals.   Should the cabinet then still vote to proceed, the Council still need to gain the 21st Century funding (£2M) from the Welsh Assembly Government via a successful business case.
  • 15TH OCTOBER 2018
    Cabinet members have voted 6-1 to proceed with their proposal to close the Llancarfan School site in the village and ‘transfer’ it to a new site in Rhoose – ignoring the recommendations of their own Scrutiny Committee, and all those who responded through the consultation processes. There are, however, still options for us to explore.
  • 1ST OCTOBER 2018
    Outcome of today’s Scrutiny Meeting is they will recommend to Cabinet that they (Cabinet / Officers) further engage with communities to explore options in respect of future primary provision in Llancarfan and Western Vale.
  • 17TH SEPTEMBER 2018
    The Council Cabinet has voted to defer their vote on the School’s future and instead refer the proposal to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee. This will be heard on Monday 1st October at 6pm in Civic Offices, Barry, with the Cabinet re-voting on 15th October at their 2pm meeting. The full agenda and make-up of the Scrutiny Committee can be found at
    http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/Council-Structure/minutes,_agendas_and_reports/agendas/Scrutiny-LC/2018/18-10-01.aspx
  • 11TH SEPTEMBER 2018
    THE COUNCIL’S CONSULTATION REPORT IS NOW OUT
    Please click here to view.
    The Council will vote on the School’s future at 2pm on Monday 17th September at the Civic Offices, Holton Road, Barry.  Public can attend (but not contribute).
  • Data on SECOND consultation (obtained via a Freedom of Information request):
    – The Council received 536 responses online and by post, email correspondence is still being compiled.
    – 45 were in favour , 490 against and 1 offered no opinion either way.
    – 160 parents, 10 members of staff, 26 pupils, 266 local residents, 6 governors and 68 others responded
  • A number of consultation responses were not received in full by the council due to their software capping character limits without notifying respondents. This has occurred for both the first and second consultations. The first consultation closed over 15 weeks ago. The action committee therefore believe that consultation responses were not thoroughly considered, and therefore did not adequately inform the second consultation, as this issue was not identified (despite the action committee highlighting that this issue may be occurring a number of weeks ago).  This is an important issue to be raised as clearly the validity of the consultation processes is called in to question.
  • On 2nd July 2018 the Welsh Government published it’s long-awaited response to the consultation on the School Organisation Code.
    Llancarfan Primary is the only school in the Vale of Glamorgan to appear in the list of Rural Schools that will be safeguarded by the new ‘presumption against closure of rural schools’ when the revised Code comes into force later this year.
    This is highly significant and needs to be highlighted in letters to the councillors and AMs (see below). Although the new Code won’t be in force just yet, the Minister has said she expects Local Authorities to observe the spirit of the new changes as the Welsh Government has clearly signalled its policy intentions and direction of travel. As Llancarfan is the only school in the VoG to appear in the new list, it is reasonable to expect the Council to observe the new requirements in respect of it.
    The new School Organisation Code will help safeguard Llancarfan well into the future if we can win this battle over ‘transfer’. The Welsh Government makes clear that surplus places will no longer be sufficient grounds for closing rural schools, and that schools should look to reduce excess places by “rationalising school space”. “We also accept”, the report goes on, “that some schools in rural areas may operate with a higher percentage of empty places than schools in urban areas.”
    Click here to view the School Organisation Code consultation document (listing Llancarfan Primary as a rural school – Annex A page 29)
  • View the Llancarfan Primary School Parents Survey results here.
    The survey is robust, has been completed anonymously by parents, has a very good response rate and was conducted with scrupulous fairness to ensure the result are an unbiased reflection of parents’ views.  The findings speak for themselves in terms of counteracting the council’s arguments that all current children at Llancarfan Primary will transfer to the new school and that the only reason for parents choosing the school is the Cowbridge catchment area.
  • Through an FOI request the Vale of Glamorgan Council have notified us that the Council received 513 responses online and by post during the first consultation of which 37 (7%) were in favour and 471 (92%) against. 5 (1%) expressed no opinion either way.
  • The following link should take you directly to the start of Cllr Bob Penrose’s responses (or lack of!) to questions at the Vale of Glamorgan Council Meeting on 18th July 2018:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vEViv5BaW8&feature=youtu.be&t=1h17m53s(A reminder that he stated he couldn’t answer questions before as the consultation was open – but seems he still can’t now it’s closed!)

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    A big 'thank you' to local resident and former pupil Dylan Williams for creating our campaign video.