Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Update on Secondary Education in Powys

Joined the Friends of Llanfyllin School last night, along with around 150 others. Only 3 Councillors though. Suspect there had been a bit of pressure applied not to attend. Two issues under discussion. Nothing much new on the high school closures issue. It was mostly a repeat of last week's public meeting. All that's changed is the proposed timetable for introduction of the changes. My view is that any attempt to push things by those who see any merit in the proposals will fail - so the new strategy is one of attrition. I'm opposed to the closure of any high school site in Montgomeryshire, and the loss of any sixth form - and my 'advice' last night was not to expect any sort of 'victory' in the short term. Important to hold some ammunition for battles ahead. Next step is an 'Emergency Debate' by councillors on Thursday afternoon at 2.00. There will be a tactical battle - akin to a game of chess. I expect there to be a crowd, and I hope to spend some time with any representatives from my old school, Ysgol Caereinion.

The second issue is very interesting - pitting 'choice' against 'concentrating resources directly on education'. Not an easy issue. Llanfyllin High School governors have for many years used a part of its budget to pay the transport costs of students from outside its catchment area. There are more than 200 students coming over the border from England. From now on this 'subsidy' will not be allowed - removing an important power from school governors. The Council has decided and will truck no dissension. The only way forward for the governors is recourse to the law. Big issue this. The governors of Llanfyllin High School have created one of the most successful schools in Wales, and the Council has decided that one of the main planks of this success must be eliminated. Choice? - not in Powys.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The choice is still there but parents have to pay for the right to go to another school. We complain that Welsh schools get £500 less than English school but are happy to see education money used to fund buses.The money should be used for education, is it right that Llanfyllin pupils have less money for resources because money is used to transport pupils from Shropshire? The practice weakens the school where pupils are poached from and not just in Shropshire - Welshpool at the expense of Newtown or Builth at the expense of Llandrindod.