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MP causes confusion with schools consultation

2019 Ionawr 27 10:30 AM

There is currently a consultation under way on proposals by RCT's Labour council to reorganise schools provision in the Pontypridd area.
The proposals include removing the sixth forms from Hawthorn High School, Pontypridd High and Cardinal Newman and creating through 3 to 16 schools in the former two. It also includes taking Welsh medium education from Pontsionnorton and rearranging catchment areas for pupils of Gwauncelyn who would be expected to transfer to Hawthorn rather than Bryncelynnog, and Coedpenmaen where pupils will move on to Pontypridd High rather than Hawthorn.

The "21st Century Schools" proposal replicated what has already been done in the Rhondda despite huge opposition to the plans there, not least from RCT Lib Dems.

Pontypridd MP Owen Smith took it upon himself to send out via schools a consultation letter of his own asking parents' opinions. However, there is concern that this may have caused some confusion and some people who filled in this survey thought they did not then have to respond to the official Council one.

Welsh Lib Dem Councillor Mike Powell is a governor at both Hawthorn High and Coedpenmaen Primary. He spoke up against the Rhondda schools proposals and is equally certain that the Pontypridd plans are not in the best interests of pupils in the area. He questions the motives behind Mr Smith's survey.

"If Owen wanted to know what people think of the proposal he only has to turn up at any of the meetings and hear the comments being made.
"Instead he has chosen to send out, at taxpayers' expense, on House of Commons headed paper, a letter asking for views. On something which is the remit of RCT Council and regarding an area devolved to the Welsh Government.

"A cynic may think that he has been listening to rumours of a general election."

The official RCT Council consultation ends on Thursday 31 January. Details can be found here.