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Llanfyllin super school consultation

Created on 19/09/2018 @ 10:21
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A consultation that gets the ball rolling for a new super school at Llanfyllin has been given the thumbs up.

Combining Llanfyllin Secondary School and Llanfyllin County Primary School into a new four-18 school would address falling numbers at both sites, which are predicted to drop from 844 pupils in January next year to 702 by January 2023.

Llanfyllin would join Ysgol Bro Hyddgen in Machynlleth as only the county’s second ‘all-through’ school.

Cabinet member for education, Myfanwy Alexander, explained that the road to this decision began with a meeting of all the school governors in the Welshpool, Llanfair Caereinion and Llanfyllin catchment areas, where options for school change and challenges were considered constructively.

Following that a joint governors meeting took place in Llanfyllin and from this the suggestion followed to explore an “all through school”.

Cllr Alexander, said: “Work began on what it would look like and what challenges would have to be answered by this radical step.

“We have a visionary set of curriculum proposal is Wales, but their delivery will be challenging.

“High schools and primary schools will need to work together ideally to deliver the Donaldson model.

“Primary school project style teaching will reach into the lower years in high school.

“And areas such as practical science in primary schools, will require access to facilities and specialised staff which will be very challenging for standalone primary schools.

“This is a way forward to ensure primary school provision in the Llanfyllin area and it’s been inspiring to see the level of vision people have.

“They want to make this school the centre of their village, the centre for their economy and the centre of local thriving.”

Cllr Peter Lewis, who represents Llanfyllin, said: “This is such an important report for the future Education Provision in the North of Powys.

“I have come here today fully supporting a consultation on a through school at Llanfyllin.

“It has taken several years of talking and meetings to come to this point. In March it was unprecedented that the two full governing bodies of Llanfyllin Primary and High Schools came together and met with Cllr Myfanwy, Marianne and Gareth Jones the then acting head of schools who I would like to personally thank for their support for helping us to get to this stage.

“At this meeting the governing bodies fully supported in principal the joining together of the schools.

“I believe this next step will bring the beginning of the end of the uncertainty for the teachers, pupils and parents, which has hung over us for the last 10 years, by securing the future bilingual education provision at Llanfyllin.”

Cllr Bryn Davies, who represents Llanwddyn, said: “I started my time at Llanfyllin high school 40 years ago and there were 31 bilingual pupils out of 500.

“In 2017 there were 23 out of 750. There has been no increase at all in bilingual pupils in the area.

“As the older generation dies away the future of the Welsh language in the area is frightening.

“There is a lot of good will towards bilingualism but we need a step-change. In year 10 only two subjects are offered in Welsh compared to 22 in English. Revolution provides opportunity.

“This is the opportunity to increase the number of children that arrive at the high school bilingually.

“If this does not happen the opportunities for bilingual education at secondary level will be suffocated. This is the opportunity to provide bilingual education to everyone.”

Cabinet member for corporate governance, housing and public protection, Cllr James Evans, added: “This is a model we could roll out all across Powys so that we can sustain rural communities.”

The target date for closure of the two schools is August 31, 2020, with the new school opening the following day.

Following the consultation, the issue will come back in front of cabinet for a final decision.

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