Anti-school closure protesters lobby Flintshire councillors

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A TEENAGER has launched a petition to save his school from closure.

John Summers High School pupil David Ellis,16, set up a Facebook group after it was revealed his school could merge with Connah’s Quay High School in a radical shake-up of the education system.

David, of Sandy Lane, Garden City, was one of a dozen protesters who gathered at County Hall in Mold yesterday as education chiefs outlined their plans to resolve surplus places in secondary schools in Flintshire.

Speaking at the protest, David said: “There are so many things wrong with closing my school.

“Pupils think it’s a joke because it’s so unbelievable.”

David has penned his concerns in a letter to Ian Budd, director of lifelong learning at Flintshire Council.

It reads: “I, like many others, are against the closure of John Summers HIgh School because we all think it’s a stupid idea.

“John Summers this year has received the best inspection report it has ever had, but also one of the best in the whole of North Wales.

“Why fix something that isn’t broken?”

David also questioned what would happen to staff at the school and the adjoining library and clinic.

More than 40 people have joined his Facebook group called ‘Petition to Stop John Summers Closing’.

Also protesting was Queensferry councillor David Wisinger whose ward contains John Summers High School.

He said: “It’s ridiculous that they are even thinking about closing the school.

“It will inevitably cause more traffic problems in Shotton as pupils make the daily trip to Connah’s Quay High School.”

Cllr Wisinger, along with Sealand councillor Christine Jones and Shotton West councillor Ann Minshull, will be collecting signatures against the potential closure from today.

Other options for reorganisation include amalgamating Elfed High School in Buckley with Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa.

A super-school in Holywell with a primary and secondary school on one site could also be created.

Mr Budd told yesterday’s meeting: “This is an important day for education in Flintshire. It is very rare we have the opportunity to have a full school refurbishment or build new schools.

“We are talking about not just this generation but the next.”

Consultations with parents, governors, staff, pupils and unions will now take place in the affected areas and options put forward as a result of the consultation will be formally proposed in November.

Mr Budd added they would remain “open and honest” throughout the process.
Mold councillor Carolyn Cattermoul spoke out against the potential closure of schools.

She said: “I personally see no point in taking children from their registered school to other establishments to meet your needs.

“It is waste of money, transport and teachers’ time.”

Holywell High School, Elfed High School and John Summers High School have the most surplus places accounting for 64.44 per cent of surplus capacity in the county’s 12 secondary schools.

Any changes are expected to be implemented between September, 2012 and 2014.

Members voted to commission a workshop on June 30 to discuss the options in detail following a meeting of the executive on June 29.

See full story in the Leader

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