September 27, 2008
Parents Fear That Schools Will Close
PARENTS in Carmarthenshire have expressed concern over plans to reduce the number of secondary schools in the county, which may lead to the merger of two well-established schools.
They fear that the plans to reorganise secondary schools could affect Welsh-medium education. The reorganisation could lead to the merger of the Welsh-medium Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa with bilingual Ysgol Gwendraeth, a possibility that has already been discussed by Carmarthenshire County Council.
The proposals were debated in a meeting last Thursday and could see secondary schools in the Dinefwr area cut from five to three.
The plans would see one learning centre based on the two sites of the existing Maes-yr-Yrfa and Gwendraeth schools; one learning centre based on the existing site of Amman Valley School; and one learning centre either based on the two sites of the existing Pantycelyn and Tregib schools or on a single site.
Plans were drawn up after discussions between the council, the Welsh Assembly Government, local headteachers and the voluntary sector.
The council said it would be premature to read too much into the proposals, but added that the status quo was not an option.
Rhodri Glyn Thomas, AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said the proposals would create logistical problems.
"There's a problem of communication here and it's not the first time that Carmarthenshire County Council and the education authority have had a problem in terms of communication," he said.
"The same thing happened with plans to change primary school teaching in Carmarthenshire.
Again it was a lack of communication with parents, not bringing them into the discussion.
In a statement, the council said: "In order to buildup on the very positive collaborative work already being done in the area, all the interested parties including the Welsh Assembly Government, the heads of the five secondary schools, Coleg Sir Gar, the voluntary sector and county council have been engaged in discussion to explore the issues involved including drawing up a suitable curriculum for all our young people.
"It has to be stressed that the paper produced as a result of our work so far is purely to initiate the debate on how we are going to provide what is required in future."
All lessons at Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa take place in Welsh, but Ysgol Gwendraeth is a bilingual school where English is used in the majority of classes.
Parents said the schools were "totally different".
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