We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

More school closures and 3 to 19 year old schools on the way warn Welsh Lib Dems.

May 10, 2013 11:00 AM

Local Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed concerns about the plan to close Caegarw primary school and turn Mountain Ash Comprehensive into a 3 to 19 school, fearing it is just the start of a wave of such changes across the County Borough.

Councillor Mike Powell says

"I have serious concerns about the provision of through 3 to 19 education on a single site. It is a route which the current Director of Education seems very keen on, as there are talks about them doing this elsewhere too. They have already done so at Llanhari, and there are rumours about it happening in the Mid Rhondda area at Tonypandy Community College.

" I am all for there being greater transition between schools, and think there is definitely an argument for federated budgets for groups of schools, but think that the age range is too great across a single site.

"The education department claim there will be segregation of age groups, but I don't believe it is possible to achieve this completely, and this could be to the detriment of pupils at both ends of the scale.

"What we need in RCT is an improvement in standards across the board and that is what the Director and the Labour Cabinet should be concentrating on. This idea seems to have come out of the blue - as did the Director's earlier failed plans to close all sixth forms. It certainly did not appear in any Labour manifesto"

RCT Cabinet agreed on 22nd April to begin a consultation exercise on the proposal, the reasoning given in the Officer's report seemingly based on the fact that whilst Caegarw is nearing full capacity Mountain Ash Comprehensive only has around 60% of the number of pupils it is designed to accommodate.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager for RCT Karen Roberts says that RCT Council should not be using this as a way to deal with surplus places without any evidence that the educational provision will be any better.

"Caegarw primary is more than holding its own educationally, with results that are at the Welsh average and above many other similar schools. The Inspector's report for Mountain Ash Comprehensive found standards to be 'adequate.'

"Caegarw is perfectly viable in terms of numbers as it stands - unlike many of our schools there are no surplus places, in fact demand is increasing. RCT should be addressing this and looking to make suitable expansion there rather than moving these children in order to address a shortfall in numbers at Mountain Ash Comprehensive.

"RCT should be looking at alternative ways of addressing the surplus places at Mountain Ash. This practice does not address the problem of falling rolls or the issue of very small sixth forms and the limited range of options for students. "