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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.

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 measure.

Today, I have written to the local authority advising them that I am considering using that power to direct them to close Llanrumney High School from August 2013.  I have asked the authority to respond to this proposal outlining in detail if they feel they would be able to achieve closure effectively within this timeframe.

The authority has plans to close Llanrumney High School and the neighbouring Rumney High School and establish a new school from September 2014.  For the academic year 2013/14, the authority plans to move all of the pupils from Llanrumney to the Rumney High School site so that the two schools will operate on the same site.

While I recognise that in this instance the authority is taking positive action to close a failing school it is my concern that the timeframe of closure by August 2014 is too drawn out and does not ensure 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, which I intend to test via the consultation process, that closing Llanrumney earlier will benefit its pupils.  For the authority, having a single school to improve may place them in a better position to support and drive forward improvements.  

I will shortly be commencing a four week consultation period with a view to directing the authority to close Llanrumney High School effective of August 2013, allowing pupils to be fully integrated into Rumney High School from September.  

I will of course update Assembly Members once I have considered the consultation responses.