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Flagship school no example for Rhondda schools to follow

May 17, 2018 9:30 AM

When the Director of Education and the Labour Cabinet in RCT decided to make guinea pigs out of Rhondda pupils and create two 3 to 16 and one 11 to 16 schools they held up the new "super school" at Aberdare as a shining beacon of light showing how great education would become.

This despite the obvious fact that the new school in Aberdare is not a through school but instead just an amalgamation of three secondaries, but they didn't want facts getting in their way.

Now it seems their fine words were just that - words. The latest inspection at this flagship school has outlined just what a disaster it has been. Standards are unsatisfactory and pupils are falling behind in basic subjects like Maths and English. Absenteeism is high and exclusions are above average. Young people in the area are being failed by this Labour run Council.

The question then has to be asked, if this was planned as the way forward, with Rhondda schools to follow this trailblazing example, then how long before our schools too sink to this level?

Of course one major difference is that in our case the rot will begin to set in earlier. Our children in the Tonypandy and Porth areas will be starting at these wonderful new establishments at the tender age of three.

Now some very good teachers are transferring from existing schools and will be doing their very best for the pupils there, but we have also lost a lot of excellent staff , certainly from Tonypandy Community College and I have no doubt from other schools.

Campaigners including myself tried to warn the Director and his loyal band of Cabinet followers of this when the plans were announced, but our concerns were dismissed as indeed was any argument against the proposals.

For the sake of the children who will be attending these schools both at Aberdare and in the Rhondda I sincerely hope that the education department in RCT pulls its finger out and tackles any issues to make sure standards of teaching and learning are improved.

Karen Roberts