Canton Schools ... The facts and figures

The history of Cardiff Council's school reorganization programme as it affects schools in and around Canton is complicated. I have my opinions about it, of course, but I want to start by trying to explain the situation as clearly and neutrally as I can, using official figures which are not disputed. These figures are:

     School Capacities (from the Asset Management Plan, 2008)
     School Rolls by Catchment Area (from PLASC, 2009)

     

The map above shows the location of the primary schools in the area. There are three Welsh-medium schools: Pwll Coch, Treganna, and a small overflow class called Tan yr Eos in the grounds of Ninian Park, but administratively part of Treganna. All the remaining schools are English-medium.

Pwll Coch is a was originally built as a one form entry school in 1999, but an extension was built to make it into a 2FE school which is now full. Treganna has 193 children in a building which only has capacity for 169. The demand for places is far in excess of the space available and so Tan yr Eos was set up on a temporary basis on the site of Ninian Park School. It currently has 26 children and would need more space to expand if it is to have an intake of children next year.

In Canton itself there are four EM schools: Lansdowne, Radnor, Kitchener and Severn, excluding St Mary's RC school. The number of pupils and capacity of these four schools are:

Lansdowne ... 320 ... 420 (100 surplus places)
Radnor ... 217 ... 288 (71 surplus places)
Kitchener ... 367 ... 420 (53 surplus places)
Severn I & J ... 370 ... 163 + 226 = 389 ... (19 surplus places)

Total ... 1274 ... 1517 (243 surplus places)

In essence, the idea behind the proposals has been to try and fit the pupils from these four schools into three so that WM provision can expand without the need for any new buildings. The proposal just rejected by the First Minister was for Lansdowne to become a WM school, and for the building used by Treganna to be used for an enlarged Radnor Primary. The EM capacity in Canton would therefore be:

Radnor & Treganna ... 288 + 169 = 457
Kitchener ... 420
Severn I & J ... 163 + 226 = 389

Total capacity ... 1266

This is almost exactly the same as the number of children in the four EM schools. But if we remember that there are currently 193 children in Treganna, 24 above capacity, the overall situation for these three schools would be very slightly less crowded than the current situation in Treganna. In other words four into three does fit ... but only just.

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Although the figures above show that four into three just fits, it is far too tight for any degree of comfort. But there are two additional factors to take into account:

•  First, there is a very large amount of movement over catchment area boundaries all over Cardiff. So the table below shows the number of children in each school ... the number from each school's own catchment area ... the number of children from the four Canton catchment areas combined ... and then the number of children who live outside Canton altogether:

Lansdowne ... 320 ... 195 ... 242 (78 outside Canton)
Radnor ... 217 ... 70 ... 182 (35 outside Canton)
Kitchener ... 367 ... 248 ... 306 (58 outside Canton)
Severn I & J ... 370 ... 155 ... 291 (79 outside Canton)

Total ... 1274 ... 668 ... 1021 (250 outside Canton)

If a school has got surplus spaces, then it is of course right that they should accept children from outside the local area whose parents would like them to go there. But if there is no space, schools must and do give preference to those who live in the catchment area. It is not as if the schools surrounding Canton are themselves full; for example Millbank has 57 surplus spaces, Herbert Thompson has 221 surplus spaces and Ninian Park has 54 surplus spaces. Only Llandaff could be described as anywhere near full with only 13 surplus spaces.

The purpose of going into this degree of detail is to show that, beyond any doubt, if Lansdowne becomes a WM school, there is easily enough space in the three remaining EM schools for every child in Canton who wants a place ... and still room for at least two hundred children from outside Canton as well.

•  The second factor is not so easy to quantify because Cardiff has not done a comprehensive survey of whether parents want their children to receive a Welsh or English medium education. However, when such surveys have been conducted elsewhere in the more Anglicized parts of Wales they show that, in addition to those who will let their children travel any distance to get a WM education, there is another 10% or so who would choose a WM education for their children if there were space available in a school close to them.

That means that the parents of maybe 100 or so children in Canton who would otherwise send them to an EM school, would send them to a WM school in Canton if there was one which had sufficient space.

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Rather than risk death by numbers, I'll conclude this post here and look at the decision letter itself in the next post. Also, in order to avoid having duplicate discussions on the same subject in more than one place, I am closing the comment facility for this post. But please feel free to join the discussion that has already been started here.

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3 comments:

MH said...

This is the second post about schools in Canton, and there will be another to follow. To avoid having three separate sets of comments, I am closing the comment facility on this post.

People have made comments on the original post, and I think it's best to continue the discussion there.

MH said...

This is the second post about schools in Canton, and there will be another to follow. To avoid having three separate sets of comments, I am closing the comment facility on this post.

People have made comments on the original post, and I think it's best to continue the discussion there.

MH said...

This is the second post about schools in Canton, and there will be another to follow.

People have made comments on the original post so, to avoid having three separate sets of comments, I think it's best to continue the discussion there.

I have therefore closed the comment facility on this post.

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