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Changes to school catchment areas spark anger amongst parents

January 23, 2014 5:12 PM

RCT's Labour Cabinet this week announced the start of a consultation on changes to the catchment areas of several schools within the County.

This includes a realignment of borders around three schools in the West of the County - Dolau, Brynna and Llanharan correcting, the Council say, historic anomalies which mean that some pupils have not traditionally been in the catchment area of their nearest school.

Pupils at addresses in lower Trehafod attending Welsh Medium schools were automatically made part of the Garth Olwg catchment area when the former Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen was closed. The proposal now is that they in future attend Ysgol Gyfun Y Cymer. The number of pupils affected in this instance is small.

The most immediately controversial suggestion involves changes to the catchment areas of Y Pant and Bryncelynnog. The changes would mean that pupils form Llantrisant and Penygawsi Primary Schools would go to Bryncelynnog in future rather than Y Pant.

Parents are not happy at the idea, especially given the good reputation Y Pant has enjoyed for some time. The latest school banding placed Y Pant in Band 1 with Bryncelynnog in Band 4.

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts says

"The anger felt by parents is understandable. They are concerned about their children's future prospects and on the face of it then Y pant would appear to provide a better education.

"The whole banding system of course is, as we have said before, not an accurate system of measuring performance. It is divisive and leads to arguments such as this. Bryncelynnog is not a 'bad' school, but it traditionally has had to deal with pupils from more deprived backgrounds.

"What we need to be looking at is bringing all of schools up to standard. Until then it is only natural that people are going to resist such changes no matter how much they are based on geographical spread and vacancy rates."