Flintshire system change fails to address the real issue

Reporter:

Helen Davies

ANGRY parents say controversial plans to modernise the county’s school system do not address the reasons behind the high level of surplus places.

A consultation on a range of options for Flintshire’s high schools started lastweek.
Possible plans put forward by the council to deal with surplus places include closing schools, merging sites and building new facilities.

The Leader spoke to parents at a consultation event at Elfed High School, Buckley and found both parents and teachers were concerned about the options being suggested.

Plans for schools in Buckley, Mynydd Isa and Mold include retaining separate sites at Argoed and Elfed high schools, but to amalgamate them into one school under one headteacher and management team; to close Argoed School and establish a new building at the Elfed site or to increase post-16 provision at Mold Alun while reducing the number of places at Elfed.

Another option would be to increase post-16 provision at Mold Alun, expand places at Elfed and close Argoed and replace it with a primary school.

Parent Andrew Guest said: “I’ve got children in primary school and as a parent I’m highly concerned about what’s happening.

“The fact this has been pushed out in the summer holidays seems very unfair on the parents.”

Elaine Thomas, another parent, thought the reason behind surplus places at Elfed needed to examined.

She said: “I don’t think they should go with any of the options.

“I don’t think they address the real problem, I think the real problem is the lack of children who want to come to school here.”

Parents and teachers also expressed concerns about the timing of the consultation events.

One teacher, who asked not to be named, said: “It all seems to be happening very, very quickly, which gives you doubts about how it’s going to be carried out.

“It’s a very short time scale.”

Councillor Nigel Steele Mortimer, Flintshire’s executive member for education, was at the Elfed consultation event along with officers from Flintshire Council and said parents and teachers were welcome to put forward their own ideas for modernisation.

He said: “There’s lots of options and we’re trying to explain them to people. Any other options suggested by people will be carefully considered.”

See full story in the Leader

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