Page last updated at 05:43 GMT, Friday, 26 September 2008 06:43 UK

Parent concern over school plans


Parents say merging the two schools could harm their children's education

Parents in Carmarthenshire have expressed concern that plans to reorganise secondary schools in Dinefwr could affect Welsh medium education.

A paper obtained by BBC Wales discusses merging the Welsh medium Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa with bilingual Ysgol y Gwendraeth.

The proposals were debated in a meeting last Thursday and could see secondary schools there cut from five to three.

But Carmarthenshire County Council said it would be "premature" to read too much into the proposals.

But it added the status quo was not an option.

The document was drawn up after discussions between council and assembly government officials, local head teachers and the voluntary sector.

'Our choice and our right'

While all lessons at Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa take place in Welsh, Ysgol Gwendraeth is a bilingual school where English is used in the majority of classes.

Llio Silyn Davies, a parent of four children at Ysgol Maes yr Yrfa said the two schools were "totally, totally different."

"At the end of the day we have chosen Welsh medium education and that is our choice and that is our right."

"This discussion about the schools has been going on for a long time. It's just the fact that last week something was leaked out and we got to know about it and it's been leaked out instead of being openly discussed."

One learning centre based on the two sites of the existing Maes-yr-Yrfa and Gwendraeth schools
One learning centre based on the existing site of Amman Valley school
One learning centre either based on the two sites of the existing Pantycelyn and Tregib schools or on a single site

"They will have a fight on their hand if they think they can get away with just discussing things with no consultation," she said.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas, the AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said the proposal would create logistical problems.

"There's a problem of communication here and it's not the first time that Carmarthenshire County Council and the education authority have had a problem in terms of communication.

"The same thing happened with plans to change primary school teaching in Carmarthenshire. Again it was a lack of communication with parents, not bringing them into the discussion.

"They have to go out there and talk to these people [the parents], listen to what they have to say and take on board the concerns they have."

In a statement, Carmarthenshire County Council said there was no "hidden agenda".

"In order to build upon the very positive collaborative work already being done in the area, all the interested parties including the Welsh Assembly Government, the heads of the five secondary schools, Coleg Sir Gar, the voluntary sector and County Council have been engaged in discussion to explore the issues involved including drawing up a suitable curriculum for all our young people.

"It has to be stressed that the paper produced as a result of our work so far is purely to initiate the debate on how we are going to provide what is required in future," the statement added.

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