Plans for Flintshire ‘super-school’

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd and Hayley Collins

A ‘SUPER-SCHOOL’ could be created in Flintshire while two others could close as part of a radical shake-up of the education system, it has been claimed.

Senior sources have leaked information to the Leader claiming at least two of the county’s 12 secondary schools are under threat as part of the options being considered.

Education chiefs have been drawing up plans to deal with the high level of surplus places in secondary schools across the county.

The senior sources, who have asked to remain anonymous, said the options for reorganisation include merging John Summers High School in Deeside with Connah’s Quay High School as well as amalgamating Elfed High School in Buckley with the Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa.

“They are also looking at creating a super-school in Holywell with a junior and high school on one site,” added one source.

But council bosses have refused to confirm or deny what the options for reorganisation are.

Sealand councillor Christine Jones, who attended John Summers High School in Queensferry, vowed she and Queensferry councillor David Wisinger would fight any merger.

Fearing a merger could mean John Summers closing and its pupils facing travelling to Connah’s Quay, Cllr Jones said: “This school is successful and there is no justification at all in closing it. Once again this end of Deeside is in danger of losing a very important facility.”

But Ken Iball, a governor at Elfed High School, said he could see logic in a potential merger with Argoed High School due to the proximity of the schools.

He said: “It makes common sense in many ways for a merger to take place.

“Elfed High School has far more room and all the community facilities. The school has a sixth form which Argoed doesn’t, but I don’t know what is likely to happen and there are things that would have to be sorted during the consultation period with the schools.”

Cllr Ian Roberts, the Labour group’s spokesman for education and a teacher in Wrexham, said school closures were inevitable.

“We have got to get to grips with surplus places and regrettably that may mean school closures,” he said.

“This now becomes a matter for the local communities that will be affected. Obviously nobody wants to see schools close, but when surplus places are extensive and they become unviable and it becomes difficult to provide the curriculum mix then the director has to bring proposals to the council to address those issues.”

Ian Budd, the council’s director of lifelong learning, said: “The council is reviewing secondary provision in accordance with its 2009 School Modernisation Strategy.

“No proposals for the reorganisation of schools have been put forward, as these would result from consultations with the relevant stakeholders.

“The county council will need to consider all options, including any arising through consultation with communities. Ultimately, elected members should select a proposal for each area that would attract investment and secure the best possible range of learning opportunities and outcomes for the next generation of learners and the 21st century.”

During a meeting of the council’s executive committee last month Mr Budd said three of the council’s secondary schools were only three quarters full.

The council is also failing to keep within the criteria set by the Welsh Assembly Government of maintaining less than 10 per cent surplus places in schools – as the council currently has 13 per cent surplus places.

Cllr Nigel Steele-Mortimer, executive member for education, has said the proposed changes will bring the authority below the 10 per cent target.

Members of the council’s lifelong learning overview and scrutiny committee are expected to discuss the options at a meeting on Thursday, June 9.

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read