Fight goes on to stop Flintshire schools plan

Reporter:

Jim Green

CAMPAIGNERS are continuing to oppose plans to modernise Flintshire’s schools despite a decision to restart a controversial consultation process.

Last week, Flintshire Council’s executive committee voted to restart the process, which was halted last month after Labour councillors tabled a motion calling for it to be scrapped.

Teachers and parents fear the plans could spell disaster for Welsh-medium education in Flintshire.

More than 70 angry parents packed a meeting at Holywell’s Ysgol Gwenffrwd on Tuesday to discuss a proposal that could see the school form part of a new ‘super school’ with both primary and secondary schools on one site.

Nick Thomas, chairman of Welsh-medium education pressure group SYFFLAG, told the meeting: “It’s important for pupils to not only hear Welsh in the classroom but also in the playground.

“We are on the edge of Wales, and it’s already hard enough to get children to speak Welsh, so it is important to keep English and Welsh schools apart.”

Cllr Nigel Steele-Mortimer, Flintshire's executive member for education, said: “These are just proposals and if the school doesn’t want to go to the new campus then they don’t have to.”

But Cllr Carolyn Thomas, who attended the meeting on behalf of the New Independent group, said: “If the intention is to take Ysgol Gwenffrwd out of the options being considered then the council should say so, people can move forward and stop worrying.

“Flintshire has a lot of work to do to meet national targets for Welsh-medium education.”

Speaking at a meeting of parents at Mold’s Ysgol Maes Garmon last week, Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Huws Gruffydd said the authority had “lost its way”.

“Council officers’ attitudes show a basic disregard for the unique needs of Welsh-medium education in an area like this. Where once it blazed a trail, today it has now lost its way,” he said.

- Flintshire’s lifelong learning scrutiny committee has agreed to hold a special meeting on Tuesday to review the process and make recommendations to the executive committee.

They were also told a full council meeting would be held, on a date to be confirmed, to discuss the plans.

Scrutiny committee chairman Peter Macfarlane said: “This is a chance for us as a scrutiny committee to meet and discuss this. We will be able to raise issues with the process.”

See full story in the Leader

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