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Written Statement - Consultation in respect of Llanrumney High School

Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills

I was notified in October 2012 that, following inspection under Section 28 of the Education Act 2005, Estyn judged that Llanrumney High School in Cardiff requires special measures.

The authority has plans to close Llanrumney High School and the neighbouring Rumney High School and establish a new school effective from September 2014. Prior to that, the authority plans to move all of the pupils from Llanrumney to the Rumney High School site from September 2013 so that the two schools will operate on the same site.

Welsh Ministers have the power under section 19 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to direct a local authority to close a school which requires special measures.

In February I announced that I was considering using that power to direct the local authority to close Llanrumney High School effective of August 2013.  I asked the authority to respond to this proposal outlining in detail if they felt they would be able to achieve closure effectively within this timeframe.

While I recognised that in this instance the authority was taking positive action to close a failing school it was, and still is, my concern that the timeframe of closure by August 2014 is too drawn out and does not effect the closure of Llanrumney quickly enough.

The standards of education currently provided by Llanrumney are unsatisfactory and the numbers on roll are falling.  The school’s prospects for improvement are judged by Estyn to be unsatisfactory raising questions as to the school’s ability to improve poor standards.  It is my belief that closing Llanrumney earlier will benefit its pupils.  For the authority, having a single school to improve will place them in a better position to support and drive forward improvements.  

As you are aware I undertook a consultation in respect of this proposal during February and March 2013 and have now had the analysis of the responses from my officials.  

A wide range of parents, pupils, staff and community members from the area responded and engaged with the process to express their views to me.  I would like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute to the process that we have undertaken.

I have now fully considered the responses, including that of the local authority and Estyn both of whom support my proposal to secure the closure of the school in August 2013.  Having done so, I will shortly issue a direction to the local authority to close Llanrumney High School effective of August 2013.  

While no doubt many of the pupils and staff will be disappointed that I have determined to move ahead with a direction to close the school I believe on the basis of weighing all the available evidence that although this is a difficult decision, this is the right course of action.

I will issue my direction to the authority as soon as possible but expect them to commence action to ensure that my direction is enacted and the school closed at the end of this term.  

The full rationale for making the Direction will be set out in the Direction itself.  It will be available on the Welsh Government’s website.