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Don't shut 'phenomenal' sixth form in Flint, plead parents

Published date: 17 December 2013 |
Published by: Jonathan Grieve
Read more articles by Jonathan Grieve


 

CONCERNED parents say the proposed closure of a successful sixth form would “cut the throat” of a Flintshire community.

Hundreds of people gathered last night as part of a consultation process to discuss the proposed closure of the ‘6’ sixth form partnership between Flint High School and St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, with pupils moving to a ‘hub’ on Golftyn Lane, Connah’s Quay in 2016.

Chairman of the meeting, Ian Budd, Flintshire Council’s director of lifelong learning, stressed the public meeting at Flint High School was an important part of the consultation process, which runs until the end of January.

Councillors will then vote on the future of the high school, with their recommendations to be sent to Wales’ Education Minister for a final decision in September 2014.

The proposal included an option to keep the partnership between the two schools in operation but the “preferred option” would be to move pupils to the Connah’s Quay hub, along with students from Holywell High School, Connah’s Quay High School and John Summers High School in Queensferry.

One parent, Emma Driscoll, vowed to “knock on every door in Flint” to keep the sixth form on Maes Hyfyrd open.

She said: “I will take this to the First Minister of Wales If I have to. I am going to fight this to the end.”

Russell Davies, who has two children at the school, said: “Not only is it not broken but it seems it is a finely-tuned machine that is getting better term by term and you are threatening to break it up.”

Harry Harrison, whose child is to start at the sixth form next year, added: “As parents, we are so delighted with the success our children have achieved here.”

And results at the school, which is one of only two across Flintshire to achieve a band one status, were suggested as a good reason to keep the partnership alive.

Bryn Healey, who has a child in Year 10, said: “It doesn’t take Einstein to understand that when your GCSE results go up, your A-level results go up as well.”

One father-of-two described teachers at the school and its sixth form as “phenomenal”.

He said: “The inspiration from teachers to my girls is phenomenal.

“When I first came to Flint, people said ‘don’t go to Flint High School’.

“There is something special here and if you are going close it, you will cut the throat of the community.”

Asked about the future of teachers at the sixth form should the proposed changes go ahead, Mr Budd said every effort would be made to keep them in employment but added some teachers might prefer to take early retirement.

County councillor for Flint Castle, Ian Roberts, said closing the sixth form could affect the chances of some youngsters going on into higher education.

He said: “Many young people face the challenge of being the first people in their house who are going on to higher education.

“They need the help and support of people they know and they get that here in this school.”

“This councillor will never put his hand up for option one.”

Closing the meeting, governor of Flint High School Andrea Robertson asked people to be positive in their attitude towards the consultation and let the council know exactly what the benefits of keeping the sixth form open would be.

She said: “As a governing body, we have had a long-term aim to raise the profile and achievements of this school.

“One of the first things we set out to do was to raise the aspirations of pupils, teachers and parents.

“I think we can say we have done that.”
Details of how to respond to the consultation are available on the council website at

www.flintshire.gov.uk/AreaSchoolsReview

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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