Monday, January 18, 2010

A really 'shocking' story in Powys.

It takes a bit to shock me - but the story I've been involved in today is one of the most shocking I've known in my 30 years of public life. Its bigger than the proposal to close our community hospitals a few years ago. Its bigger than the plans to cover our landscapes with wind turbines. What it does is threaten the entire social infrastructure of Montgomeryshire (and Brecon and Radnorshire as well).

The story was leaked to me last Friday. I was thinking of blogging it as a Mrs Mopbucket 'leak' story, but decided it would be wrong to lace it with humour. It involves a 'document for consultation' prepared within the Powys County Council, outlining options for the reorganisation (or modernisation in 'councilspeak') of secondary education in Powys. Initially I didn't realise it was in any way confidential, so forwarded to several others for comment, before posting on the issue. It was only when I read it again in detail, and discussed it with others that I realised just how incendiary it was. After much discussion over the weekend and today, we decided that so many people now knew about the proposals that I should issue a press release. Unfortunately, I'll not be available for any interviews myself tomorrow - because at 9.40 am, Mrs D and I are heading South for three nights, leaving our house in the capable hands of little Darragh and his parents.

Despite considering options in the document as totally unacceptable, I have no criticism of the County Council. Powys has been forced into an impossible situation. The Council is faced with falling rolls at secondary level, and Assembly Government educational requirements that cannot be met within the current budget, and without dramatic change. But what we are faced with is shocking. There will now be a heated public debate about this - I'm told that the document that was given to me last week is being made available to all tomorrow. We are about to embark on a debate the like of which Powys has never seen before.


JB said...


I gather that there is a proposal in this report to close Llanfyllin High School and, for all I know, others.

I'm waiting for the detail but one question screams for an answer. Party politics aside, where the Hell is our AM. We haven't had a cheep from him for weeks and the Lib Dem office seems to be struck with rigor mortice. This is no way to serve their constituents.

vencr said...

Good that you are 'the one' that's picked up on this.

Anonymous said...

Is this document to be found online anywhere? I cant seem to find it.

Dave Edwards said...

Can't blame the County Council - I agree to some extent - but can't believe that I'm reading that Llanfair's future's under consideration.

I'm sure everyone has a soft spot (in some way) for their high school, but I honestly believe that Llanfair provided the best secondary education it was possible to have in a state school (and arguably in all schools). When I was there (I left in 1994 after seven years) it was the most popular school in the area and everyone wanted to go there - people travelled for miles to get their education there as they (or at least their parents!) knew the standards of teaching would stand them in great stead for the future, and when I consider all of my friends from school and where we've ended up I think the success rate is very, very high.

Do all you can please to keep the future of bilingual secondary education in Llanfair at the forefront of any campaigns you launch - I'm sure as an "old boy" yourself you understand what I've said.

Good luck when the election comes - Lembit's lost focus in what he was elected for and I think you should stand and excellent change, in a Conservative Government, of getting Powys the support and recognition it's long needed.

Anonymous said...

Its hit the news today

alanindyfed said...

See this:

"Western Mail's Man in DC" said...

"A really 'shocking' story"

Aye aye Glyn - but also in Massachusetts!

What have I been saying these past months - that President Obama's agenda is 'a stinker' (what I used to say to my mother when I was a nipper in a council house on a large council housing estate in Cardiff when I wanted to do a #2).

Obama's agenda is a STINKER!

The people of MA are screaming out that the arrogance of one-party-state power emanating from Washington DC is NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE.

The citizens of Massachusetts have said so!

If Obama's team in Washington DC don't get it now, don't get that there is a revolt among ordinary Americans against his #2 agenda, then the Democratic Party face wipe out this coming November – they will have to send out for kitchen towels to wipe teary faces.

The Dems will not be an electable party for 20 or more years.

They will not be trusted again.

But President Obama might finally get the message and drop both versions of the current Health plan before Congress (the Senate and the House's versions), drop cap 'n trade and thereby put an additional nail in the Copenhagen nonsense band-wagon of nonsense and lies upon data-set lies. We have just learned that the UN has told yet more porkpies on ice-field melting.

But here is a new prediction: Scott Brown is going to be the missing leader - going to lead the GOP - not Palin, but Scott Brown. Palin is a king-maker of sorts; Brown will lead the GOP back up the ramp to the American-way-freeway.

Obama's vision of big government knows best - his ultimate distrust of the American people has led to the heavy Democrat loses in VA, NJ, and now MA - VANJMA. Not quite 'Jumanji' ... but getting there.

Hey! Dems lost in MA!!!!! said...

Hey! Dems lost in MA!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have always felt that education, especially over 11 years, should be maintained by central government - not local authorities. This is another example of support for Powys from WAG/Westminster being strangled. I bet no secondary schools in Cardiff or Swansea are to be closed!!!! The sooner Powys decalres UDI from Wales and joins Salop in a Marches Republic, the better!

frankie said...

Watched Breakfast BBC news this morning and was amazed that when our local news came on, not a mention of this devestating news. Once again it shows that Montgomeryshire, Powys and Mid-Wales have little immportance to the powers that be in Cardiff (the BBC and the Welsh Assembly.)

However,it is reported on the Wales BBC website - but only under the Mid-Wales heading. I would have thought that this sort of news was important enough to warrant headlines in the main news.

I think this has to be a non starter, and the County Council are quite mad to think of closing some of the most successful schools in the whole of Wales.

I have a personal interest in this, as both my sons were educated in Llanfair Caereinion Primary and Secondary schools.

Powys County Council are going to have one almighty fight on their hands.

Richie said...

JB - our MP and AM are holding a public meeting in Newtown tomorrow. Perhaps you should go along? :)

"Distraction" is our hidden-middle name said...

"Defcon –(j^2)" & "Sunday (No Data)": Al Qaeda and their affiliates taking an interest in artificial things like life-like baby/sleeping toddler dolls, limbs attached to persons genuinely missing limbs.

David Thomas said...

Roman Jones says "I bet no secondary schools in Cardiff ... are to be closed!!!!".

Oh yes they are. Maybe you should keep up with the Welsh news better cf

And, by the way, I'm with you for a Republic but you'll never get the Marches to join so keep with Wales for that one too!