The site of the former Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School could be refurbished and used as a new pupil referral unit.
Caerphilly County Borough Council has put forward plans for a £5.5 million ‘Centre for Vulnerable Learners’.
Based at the old school site, the pupil referral unit would support those with additional learning needs (ALN).
Pupils who are referred to pupil referral unit often need greater care and support than their school is able to provide.
A report on the proposal says: “The authority has undertaken an extensive and far-reaching review of ALN provision across the county borough.”
This and the requirements of the ALN reform bill “has led to the need to expand this type of provision”.
The report says plans are “in early developmental stage”.
Under the plans the old grammar school building would be refurbished along with facilities for indoor and outdoor sport.
If given the go ahead, the plans are expected to cost a total of £5.5 million. The council would contribute £1.4 million (25%), while the Welsh Government would cough up the remaining £4.1 million.
If the plans are approved by the council’s cabinet on April 7, an outline business case would be prepared for the Welsh Government.
What is Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet?
A council’s cabinet is made up of councillors in charge of different policy areas – such as education, environment, local economy, etc – and a leader.
It is separate to the council’s corporate management structure, which is headed up by its chief executive and various directors. Cabinet is made up of councillors, who are elected and have the ultimate say.
Typically, cabinet members are councillors from the party with the most elected council members.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet is made up of:
- Cllr Philippa Marsden (Ynysddu) – Leader
- Cllr Sean Morgan (Nelson) – Deputy leader / Economy, Enterprise and Infrastructure
- Cllr Colin Gordon (Pontllanfraith) – Corporate services
- Cllr Eluned Stenner (New Tredegar) – Customer, Performance and Property Services
- Cllr Ross Whiting (Risca West) – Learning and Leisure
- Cllr Shayne Cook (Morgan Jones) – Social Care
- Cllr Lisa Phipps (Bedwas, Trethomas, Machen) – Housing
- Cllr Nigel George (Risca East) – Waste, Public Protection and Street Scene
- Cllr Andrew Whitcombe (Abercarn) – Sustainability, Planning and Fleet
Corporate management is made up of unelected employees of the council and has responsibility for day-to-day management of services, such as making sure the bins are collected. Corporate directors work with cabinet members to come up with policy which is then agreed upon by the cabinet.
Under current legislation, pupil referral units are exempt from the formal consultation processes.
Islwyn Senedd Member Rhianon Passmore has backed the plans, as have Blackwood councillors Kevin Etheridge and Andrew Farina-Childs.
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