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Schools ‘re-think’ will hit Welshpool

Created on 18/07/2011 @ 14:15
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News that all county councils in Wales have been asked to re-think their school modernisation plans has been greeted with disappointment by Powys County Council.
Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews announced before the weekend that the Welsh Government would be asking all authorities to review their 21st Century Schools bids because of reduced capital funding.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Welshpool area which has just had its review put on hold until after the summer and local education bosses are concerned.
Powys County Council Cabinet Member for Learning and Leisure, Councillor Stephen Hayes said: “The minister’s announcement is extremely disappointing and will have a significant impact on the county council’s ability to back its school modernisation initiatives with new buildings. Not only does it reduce the Welsh Government’s contribution to future schemes, but it pushes the availability of funding further into the future.
“Construction is due to begin imminently on four new schools in the Ystradgynlais area, and funding for this major scheme is secure. Similarly, implementation of both the Gwernyfed and the Upper Severn Valley Welsh Medium primary reviews remains a high priority. However, further area reviews are likely to be affected by the Minister’s announcement, and I recently announced a deferment of the Welshpool area review, which had been due to start in the autumn.
“With regard to secondary and post-16 modernisation, the challenges of surplus places, ensuring our youngsters have appropriate curriculum choice and fostering educational excellence across the county remain. There is therefore no question of modernisation not going forward in Powys, and I will be announcing the next stages of our work later this year. However, the Minister’s announcement is a serious blow to our aspiration to back modernisation with new and refurbished buildings, and extremely disappointing considering all the hard work that went into the original 21st Century Schools submission.
“But, it does not mean an end to the work to modernise our schools; that work is still needed and vital if we are to deliver the quality of education our young learners deserve.”
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