Opinion is divided over plans to merge Chirk schools

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

TENS of thousands of pounds could be saved every year and a new building constructed if plans to merge two schools are approved.

Wrexham Council unveiled a proposal to unite Chirk Infants, in Chapel Lane, and Ceiriog Junior School, in Lloyds Lane, at a public meeting.

The merger, which could save up to £60,000 a year would in the short-term involve both schools reopening as a single school but at two sites, with one headteacher and one governing body.

Opinion at the meeting was split among parents and carers on whether the move would be a good thing for the children.

Many were concerned that relationships between children, teachers and parents might break down.

There were also safety worries relating to children moving between the two existing sites and concern about the potential loss of the two current sites should one new building eventually be established.

Dafydd Ifans, the council’s premier school improvement officer, confirmed an application had been made for £240 million of funding from 21st Century Schools, a coalition government project, to carry out developments in schools across the county.

He said: “We can’t guarantee it will come, but we are looking for it.

“We would be looking to bring these schools onto one site, but that is likely to be in the mid to long-term future.”

An initial date of September 2012 has been set for the changes, although they could take place as early as January 2012.

Mr Ifans said the changes would bring significant improvements to 300 pupils at both schools, including a better teaching experience, greater flexibility in the use of the sites and a better teacher-pupil ratio.

Resident David Jones, who has children attending the infants and junior schools, backed the changes.

He said: “There are a lot of little questions to be asked – how opening times will work and the knock-on effect on parking, but on the whole I’m very positive.”

But Sarah Williams, who has a child at Ceiriog Junior School, with another due to start in the infants later this year, described the changes as a “smokescreen.”

She said: “This school works as it is. The change is about money, not the interests of the pupils.”

The consultation will run until Friday, June 10 and the report will be tabled at a meeting of Wrexham Council’s executive board in July.

See full story in the Leader

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