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Big schools debate begins

Created on 27/01/2011 @ 13:44
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Consultation meetings to discuss the future structure of Powys’ secondary and post 16 education will get underway this month.

The County Council and Coleg Powys will hold a series of consultation meetings in secondary schools and at Coleg Powys campuses across the county.

Last year an in-depth report outlining the challenges facing the secondary and post 16 education sector was published as part of the councils’ school modernisation initiative, which proposed possible options.

The meetings will be held at the county’s 13 secondary schools and 3 of Coleg Powys’ campuses, with the first meeting taking place at Brecon High School on February 7.

Board Member for Schools, Councillor David Jones said: “The authority, schools and the College are facing serious challenges.  A huge amount of work has already been done to look at ways of tackling the problems of falling pupil numbers, physical conditions of buildings, curriculum pressures, changes in legislative requirements and the need to provide more opportunities through the medium of Welsh.

“We are putting forward proposals that focus on three elements which are education for 11-16 year olds, Welsh medium education and also post-16 education.

“The future of our secondary and post-16 education is of vital importance and we urge parents, pupils, governors and the public across the county to get involved and have their say. The Council and Coleg Powys will consider views carefully before making any decisions about whether any proposal should be developed further.

Simon Pirotte, Principal of Coleg Powys added; “There is some excellent work going on in our schools and in the College.  To protect this in the future and to ensure that ALL Powys learners receive world class provision, we need to make brave decisions.  We have reached a stage where it is critical that we secure a sustainable, long term and inspiring vision for education that will work on the ground.  Powys learners should not be disadvantaged and should be able to access the same opportunities available to their peers in other areas of Wales."

A consultation document with questionnaire has also been produced which will be available at from January 31st onwards. Copies are also being sent to parents and guardians over the coming weeks.

The proposals being consulted on are:

Proposal 1: 11-16 Education

- Establish a new structure of seven or eight secondary schools across the current thirteen sites, by having one head and governing body over a school on two, or more of the sites;

- Establish some of these schools as ‘All Through Schools’ for 3–16/18 year olds;

- Invest in all school sites to become full community focused schools providing a wide range of services such libraries, lifelong learning, community support, social and health support services.  This will enable the Council to make best use of surplus buildings and spaces.

The following is a possible example of an eight-school structure  and we want to listen to how our communities feel about these before considering whether it is appropriate to explore them further.

School 1:  Brecon, Crickhowell and Gwernyfed
School 2:  Bro Ddyfi (Machynlleth) 3–16/18 school
School 3:  John Beddoes ( Presteigne) 3-16/18 school
School 4:  Maesydderwen (Ystradgynlais)
School 5:  Llandrindod Wells/Builth Wells
School 6:  Llanfair Caereinion/Llanfyllin
School 7:  Llanidloes/Newtown
School 8:  Welshpool

Proposal 2: Welsh Medium Education

- Centralise Welsh-medium education at a minimum of three of the schools listed above;

- Consider whether one of these schools should become a  designated single-language Welsh medium school;

Post 16 Education

Proposal 1:

Two options are under consideration:

Option 1 Post-16 education is managed through a partnership between Powys County Council and Coleg Powys.  Post-16 education would be delivered at four ‘Learning ‘Hubs’ across the county.   A limited range of subjects, predominantly AS/A2 levels, would also be delivered at up to five ‘Spokes’.

Option 2 Post-16 education is managed by a single organisation such as Coleg Powys or another organisation. All post-16 education would be delivered by this single organisation at ‘Learning Hubs’ across the county.

Timetable of consultation meetings

School - Date and time (all meetings to begin at 6.30pm unless otherwise indicated*) - Venue

Brecon - 7 February - Brecon High School

Gwernyfed - 9 February - Gwernyfed High School

Llanfair Caereinion - 16 February - Caereinion Leisure Centre

Llanfyllin - 17 February - Llanfyllin High School

Welshpool - 7 March - Theatr Clera - Welshpool High School

Llanidloes - 10 March 7pm* - Llanidloes Community Centre

Crickhowell - 14 March - Crickhowell High School

Builth - 16 March - Builth Wells High School

John Beddoes - 23 March - John Beddoes High School

Newtown - 24 March - Newtown High School

Coleg Powys, Llandrindod - 28 March - Coleg Powys, Llandrindod Wells

Llandrindod Wells High School - 30 March - Llandrindod Wells High School

Maesydderwen - 31 March - Maesydderwen High School

Coleg Powys, Newtown - 4 April - Coleg Powys, Newtown

Coleg Powys, Brecon - 6 April - Coleg Powys, Brecon

Ysgol Bro Ddyfi - 7 April - Ysgol Bro Ddyfi

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