Ysgol Hermon School
Public Meeting at Community Festival 07/08/04
to Launch National Fund Campaign to Support Small Schools in Wales
The parents of Ysgol Hermon, North Pembrokeshire have been working together again this week to launch a new National Fund to assist small schools in fighting closure notices and seeking options of setting up co-operative schools. Since the disappointing outcome of their Judicial Review hearing last Friday the parents continue to express the unfair balance of the manner in which 6 assembly and local authority employed officers could back up the 2 barristers who challenged their Barrister and one solicitor. The parents realize that if they had received continuous regular professional support and guidance from day one then they too could have collated the bundles of paperwork and research documents that were produced by the County Council and Assembly. Cris Tomos the spokesman for the parents of Hermon explained. “ The system is totally one sided in that public resources and funds can be devoted by the Assembly and County Council to ensure that challenges made by any community have very little chance of succeeding and have no chance of saving their local school.” Cris added “With the tremendous amount of letters, e-mails and telephone calls received by all parents involved in our campaign it is clear that there are a large number of people in Wales who wish to put a stop to the unfair imbalance – We are now launching a National Small School Fund to enable support to be given immediately to schools who are aware that they might become the target of unfair Local Government rationalization especially where the Community strongly believes that they have a case for the retention of the local school.”
The Hermon Campaigners hope that the fund will enable recourses to be devoted to setting up a community cooperative school on the same model as that proposed in Lowick School Cambria. This could then be rolled out to other interested small schools across Wales.
The National fund will ask people to pay a £1 a week contribution and look to give a prize draw of £2000 a month and thus hopefully attract large numbers of supporters where surpluses will be devoted to the National Campaign. Any one interested in finding out more about the fund please visit www.ysgolhermon.org,uk or contact Cris Tomos on 01239 831962.
See below Agenda of Community Meeting and Example of the Lowick Model
Also to find out more about the Community Festival visit web link:
CYFARFOD CYHOEDDUS / PUBLIC MEETING
07/08/04 @ 5.00pm
GWYL GYMUNEDOL / COMMUNITY FESTIVAL
1. Sefyllfa Bresennol Ysgol Hermon
2. Datblygiadau yr wythnos yma
3. Hanes Pentrefi ble mae ysgolion wedi cau
4. Opsiynau Ysgol Cydweithredol
5. Cronfa Ysgolion Bach Cymru £1 yr wythnos
6. Y cam nesaf
7. Unrhyw fater arall
1. Current situation of Ysgol Hermon
2. Developments over this week
3. How other villages have been affected by school closure
4. Options for a Co-oprative School
5. Small Welsh School Fund £1 a week
6. The next step
7. Any other matters
SMALL WELSH SCHOOL FUND – DONATE £1 A WEEK BY STANDING ORDER FORM AND HELP SAVE SCHOOLS FROM CLOSURE. – VISIT www.ysgolhermon.org.uk to print a form.
NB - £2,000 prize money given away every month!
Small Welsh Schools Fund (SWSF)
Thanks you for considering joining SWSF. It is hoped that we will attract members from all over the country and that the £1 a week donated (i.e. 14p per day) will ensure that the Fund can employ an individual to take up the challenge of assisting small Welsh School to Survive.
The fund will also be providing incentives for people to continue with their contribution by holding a monthly draw of a first prize of £2,000.00.
As you see from the Standing Order Mandate we will be collecting the weekly £1 every 3 months, that is every 13 weeks. But to start the contributions flowing into the fund an initial £6 will be collected to assist with the setting up of the fund and resources. Also we will be ensuring all professional systems are put in place to provide all members with confirmation of their Draw Number and ensuring that regular newsletters are sent to inform everyone of the monthly winners and the good working being achieved with the assistance of their £1 a week donation.
The voluntary organizing committee of the Fund also wishes to attract promoters from across the country who can possibly talk to other friends, family or local groups who could join the fund. We would ensure that promoters receive a contribution for out of pocket costs : telephone, fuel and time spent meeting prospective new members. The collector’s contribution will be based on the number of new members gained. If you know of anyone who might be interested please pass on their details or ask them to contact me on 01239 831962
Once again many thanks for your support. By working together we can achieve great results and assist in saving small Welsh Schools who wish to remain open and thus assist communities across the country.
We would like to invite you to take part in the development of this proposal to enhance local education provision and community sustainability in Lowick and Blawith.
We should appreciate any comments that you care to make, please use the postcards and supplementary response sheets that are available on the tables.
This consultation to review the response to the outline consultation and to establish whether to explore the opportunity further by publishing a formal proposal to the School Organisation committee to apply for funding from September 2004.
o Lowick CE School is due to close in September 2004. We are preparing a proposal to create a new school on the site as a key and sustainable, community asset, delivering a combination of primary school services and community education development services run as two parallel activities within the new school.
o This will make explicit the community development and support role associated with the “school at the heart of the community” that has been implicit in the government led presumption against closure of rural schools.
o It also embeds the community learning role into the management of the school itself, rather than, as in other models, where this role is run by an external organisation.
The requirements of the original trust deed
The school was founded on common land in 1856 by public subscription, which stipulated that it should be a school for all ages and that the premises can only be used as a school. (The schedule signed in 1950’s transferred the trusteeship to the Carlisle Diocese Board of Finance and stated they should manage the Trust according to the original deed.)
The schedule transferring the trusteeship gave the Carlisle Diocesan Board of Finance the power to sell or rent the premises subject to a price agreed by the Secretary of State for Education. The Diocese has stated that they will explore all opportunities for the community use of the premises before resorting to the sale of the building which will result in the loss of the asset to the community.
The Diocese has offered the community the use of the building on a leasehold basis including a full repair lease. It seems reasonable to expect that if the new proposal meets all the requirements of the original trust deed, the terms under which the Diocese will make the building available may be more favourable than if the original trust deed was not satisfied.
Enhanced educational opportunities:
This proposal is for a new school that will deliver a distinctive and unique form of primary and community education in the Furness area. Parents in the Furness area do not have open access to a school with cooperative values and principles. This will be by the application of these values to the governance, policies and procedures and curriculum. Parents, staff and supporters will be able to participate uniquely in the development of primary and community education through the constitution of this cooperative school.
This, integrated with strong links with local secondary schools, a network of urban and rural primary schools, as well as with the international Cooperative movement, will result in exciting and distinctive educational and community development opportunities for Furness area.
Enhanced community sustainability:
The retention of primary education in the Lowick & Blawith area and the development of local community education will help to protect the community from further decline and will be used as a focus for enduring sustainability and regeneration of the area, by promoting local cultural heritage and supporting local social and economic development.
The use of the building for the administration and delivery of community education will support the development of new skills and opportunities for community members. The main theme of the activity will be on the basis of action learning through responding to community needs however traditional adult education will be available in subjects where there is local demand.
The school will deliver the Real Life project in partnership with established regeneration partners including Voluntary Action Cumbria and Community Action Furness and other agencies supporting rural and cooperative enterprise development.
The two parallel activities of primary and community education will access separate funding streams and “buy into” resources available through the school with separate operational budgets. This will also reduce the overheads for the running of the Primary School and reduce the financial fluctuations resulting from pupil roll variations.
The delivery of community education locally depends on the existence of the primary school on the site. The delivery of the primary school will be made sustainable by working alongside the community education activities and by providing access to this distinctive form of cooperative education.
The stability and improved accessibility to this form of education which will be established through the creation of Lowick New School will also increase the pupil roll and reduce the cost per head pupil. Overheads of the school to be shared between the two activities include staffing, and the fixed costs of heating and lighting the building. Additional income generating activities associated with the Educational Trust and the Community Mutual will ensure that the school has access to additional resources to supplement statutory provision to ensure high quality of provision.
The school as described in the outline proposal will be unique in the Furness area.
It will provide additional educational opportunities for children, parents and their communities in the Furness area.
It will help to support the sustainability of the school and the community in Lowick.
Please support the further exploration of this proposal by supporting the publishing of a formal proposal for Lowick new School to be established and by expressing your intention to take part in activities organised by the Trust and the Community Mutual.
Are there any other issues that you feel need to be satisfied ?
Are there any comments or suggestions that you would like to make to this outline proposal?
Consultation prior to the publication of a formal proposal will include three strands:
1) Community Consultation
a) “Design-A-School” workshops
(SWOT analysis of school, benefits of working as a co-op, vision, curriculum, policies, finances, prospectus, development plan)
b) Public Exhibition of plans at the Coronation Hall, Ulverston on 27th February 2004
c) Consultation at events during the School Reunion (27th -29th February)
2) Online development material is available on the www.enterprisingcommunities.org.uk website and an online group of experts in community regeneration and education are being used to strengthen the model being developed.
3) Discussions with all stakeholders, including the parties represented in the decision making for a new school in Cumbria. For further information and details of meetings to develop these proposals, please contact Lowick & Blawith Educational Trust. Phone: 01229 885694 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the end of the consultation process if the community wishes to move ahead to the next stage a formal proposal will be published leading to a two month consultation period. A review of the responses of the formal consultation will be made with the support of Lancaster University Management School. This review will be presented to the Cumbrian Schools Organisation Committee early in the Summer Term 2004.
This committee is legally bound to consider this proposal from a new provider of education on its own merits and not to prejudge the case. This gives all parties involved the opportunity to work with the community to find an alternative to loss of local provision of education in Lowick
The development plan for the new school is being explored by the community in their “Design A School” consultation workshops. The plans being developed will need to address all those issues which had made the Lowick CE School vulnerable to closure threat. The model that is being developed uses cooperative principles to strengthen and widen the community involvement in the management of the school, through a new approach to cooperative decision making / engagement of community members in operational and strategic decisions for the school.
Ethos of the school
The ethos of the school will focus upon encouraging all community members to achieve their potential through applying inclusive and democratic cooperative principles to the delivery of education. This will encourage the participation of community members of all ages in local educational development. The school will therefore play a strong role in developing active citizenship within the wider community.
The community are strengthen the existing school curriculum by engaging local and international skills from within the community and co-operative movement which will provide enhanced educational opportunities for their pupils and a distinctive form of primary and community learning while supporting the ethos of the new school.