Wednesday 2 July 2008

Saving small schools

I'm no fan of Carmarthenshire county council's approach to the issue of small schools in rural areas. My own children attended a small village school, and I know how well they can work, and the sense of family and community ownership which they generate.

The county council are far too ready to close them, and whatever they say about the reasoning, I'm convinced that their primary motivation is financial. They are trying to replace them with what they call 'community schools' – a somewhat Orwellian name, given that their enlarged catchment areas often have little to do with any real sense of community.

When I first heard that the education minister had rejected a plan to close Llansadwrn school, I was delighted, as were, I am sure, all those parents who have been campaigning to stop the closure programme. It's in the next door constituency, so I haven't been aware of the detailed arguments for and against, but here was hope that this would be a precedent on which we could build. Looking at the reasons given, I have become, however, a little more wary.

The county council have claimed this week that the decision, far from saving small schools, actually endangers more of them. Now, Carmarthenshire County Council are masters of spin and selective quoting of fact; and I am well aware that this is, in part at least, an attempt to gloss over the minister's comments on the way in which Carmarthenshire County Council conducted the process.

But it does seem that the minister has also told them that the new school that they were proposing to create is still too small, and suggests that the Council should look at a wider merger involving other schools in the area. It's bad enough having a county council hell-bent on closing our schools, without having a minister egging them on – and giving them someone else to try and blame for what are, in the end, decisions of the ruling group on the county council.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why dont you have a chat with your friends up in Gwynedd!!!!