What is a Federation?
A federation is a formal and legal agreement by which the schools involved work together in a formal partnership. There is a single governing body, which has a strategic oversight of all schools within the federation.
Which schools are part of the Federation?
The governing bodies of Riverbank School, Ty Gwyn School and Woodlands High School met and agreed to consult on a proposal to federate which the Cardiff Local Authority supported. Since then, the consultation period has elapsed, and it has officially been approved.
The proposal is to establish The Western Learning Campus under the federation of maintained schools and miscellaneous amendments (Wales) regulations 2010 (Welsh statutory instrument W.64, April 2010) from January 1st 2018 or as soon as possible following procedures.
What are the key points of a Federation?
- The existing governing bodies of the three schools will be dissolved and a new single governing body will replace them taking responsibility for the strategic oversight of all the schools in the federation.
- Each school retains its name, category, budget, staff and remains in the community. The three schools are not merging together. In the future they will be able to explore the advantages of sharing resources.
- Each school will continue to have its own ESTYN inspection, although this can be co-ordinated to occur at the same time.
What is the background to these proposals?
Riverbank School provides for the needs of 70 pupils, aged 4-11, who have severe learning difficulties. The most recent ESTYN inspection in November 2015 judged the school to require ESTYN monitoring. This is because they judged the school’s performance to be adequate and the prospects for improvement to be adequate – this means that strengths outweigh areas for improvement.
Ty Gwyn School
Ty Gwyn School provides the needs of 175 pupils, ages 3-19, who have profound and multiple learning difficulties. The most recent ESTYN inspection in May 2012, judged the school’s performance to be excellent and the prospects for improvement to be excellent – this means there are many strengths including significant examples of sector leading practice.
Woodlands High School
Woodlands High School provides for the needs of 135 pupils, aged between 11-19, who have severe learning difficulties. The most recent ESTYN inspection in January 2016 judged the school’s performance to be adequate and the prospects for improvement to be unsatisfactory – this means that important areas for improvement outweigh strengths.
What is the vision for the Federation?
- The federation will provide a specialist, safe environment for all children to achieve their full potential and develop skills to enable them to lead happy and fulfilled lives.
- The federation will champion educational excellence in all three schools.
- The federation will enable all three schools to secure better value-for-money in the procurement of services because of the greater purchasing power.
- The federation will enable the deployment of all available resources as efficiently and effectively as possible to focus on the delivery of high quality teaching and learning opportunities.
- The federation will become a centre of excellence, providing the best possible provision, opportunities and experiences for all young people who attend the three schools.
- The federation will encourage more co-location of services from other partners, including health.
What are the benefits for Children and Young People?
The focus of the federation will be children and young people who attend all three schools. Some of the benefits will be to:
- Improve access to a wider range of curriculum provision, which can be personalised to meet the individual needs of pupils.
- Secure a greater consistency of goo and excellent teaching and learning across all three schools.
- Provide a wider range of educational and extra-curricular opportunities.
- Secure better transport arrangements.
What are the benefits for Staff?
Members of staff are the greatest asset of the federation and some of the benefits will be to:
- Enable the sharing of expertise and practices for over 230 members of staff which will have significant benefits for all pupils.
- Share teaching resources, ideas and policies.
- Provide more flexible career opportunities.
- Provide a greater range of professional development and training opportunities.
- Deliver more opportunities for the mentoring and coaching of staff.
What are the benefits for Parents?
Parents are vitally important partners in a young person’s education. The Federation will benefit parents because it will develop a shared ethos and culture of excellence across all three schools. In addition, it will enable parents to benefit from:
- Coordinated and shared activities and events
- Improved access to a wider range of experts.
- Greater choice of excellent provision.
- Greater fund raising opportunities.
What are the benefits for Cardiff and the Wider Community?
The federation will ensure that all three schools secure a higher profile within the local community, across Cardiff and in Wales.
The federation will become a beacon of excellence, hosting visits from other educators who want to learn more about the education provision in all three schools.
One of the early ambitions of the Federation is to secure improved buildings and classroom environments in Woodlands and Riverbank Schools, whilst ensuring that Ty Gwyn continues to receive the investment it needs to provide a better educational provision.