MAJOR changes could be underway for a Vale school.

Stanwell School, Penarth, is looking into changing from a foundation school to a community-maintained school.

The move comes after a damning audit report in June revealed the state of the school’s governance which included liquidation concerns, budget deficits and gifts including alcohol being bought with no benefit to pupils.

The school ended the 2022/23 financial year in a deficit position of over half a million pounds.

It has now prepared a three-year recovery plan to eradicate this.

Part of that plan is to change the school status from foundation to community-maintained, a monumental move in the school’s history, with Stanwell one of just ten foundation schools left in Wales.

Penarth Times: Stanwell School could soon no longer be a rare 'foundation school'Stanwell School could soon no longer be a rare 'foundation school' (Image: Google Maps)

What does it mean for Stanwell School going from foundation to community-maintained?

The biggest change could be in Stanwell’s admissions process.

Currently, it works on a feeder school system with pupils from Albert Primary School, Evenlode Primary School, Sully Primary School and Victoria Primary School having priority spots at Stanwell.

If the change takes place, the school would go under a catchment area admissions process, which would mean pupil admissions would be subject to the Vale of Glamorgan's admissions policy and admissions would be managed by the council.

There would be no impact on the school’s curriculum.

The advantages of turning Stanwell into a community-maintained school

The consultation document, which ran from September to October, says changing Stanwell School to community-managed would improve financial management by giving better access to funding streams such as school grants.

The consultation claims the change would also see the school benefit from working more closely with other secondary schools under the local authority.

On admissions, the consultation says the change would impact positively on the management of admissions within catchment areas and across the Vale of Glamorgan.

Penarth Times: The school could be about to go under the management of the Vale of Glamorgan CouncilThe school could be about to go under the management of the Vale of Glamorgan Council (Image: Google Maps)

Penarth Times: It would mean admissions at Stanwell could change (catchment area)It would mean admissions at Stanwell could change (catchment area) (Image: Consultation document)

The disadvantages of the change

The school would no longer manage its own admissions - where parents chose feeder primary schools for their children's priority transfer to Stanwell.

To address this, the consultation says “transition arrangements” would be in place until 2030.

Why not stay a foundation school?

It was considered to keep Stanwell as a foundation school, however this was discounted by Vale of Glamorgan Council and the governing body over, among other issues, financial management concerns.

What next for Stanwell?

Responses to the consultation document have been collated.

A consultation report will be published in November on the school and Vale Council’s websites.

November 20 to December 18, objections are invited. In January, an objection report will published.

In February/ March the entire proposal will be determined.

Changes could start to be introduced September 2024.

All information in this article was supplied by Stanwell School and Vale Council’s ‘Consultation Document to change Stanwell School from Foundation School to Community Miantained School from September 2024’.

Parents of Stanwell school, we want to hear from you. What’s happening at Stanwell? How’s it been? How’s it going? What do you think of these proposed changes? Is your child in a feeder school and their admission to Stanwell could be affected?

Email your thoughts to