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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 15:25 GMT
Money worries cloud school merger
Groves High School in Wrexham
Groves High School in Wrexham is set to close
The row over the reorganisation of secondary education in Wrexham has intensified after council bosses announced they needed extra funds to ease through the plans.

Under the proposals, two large comprehensive schools would be formed at St David's and Bryn Offa, and the Groves would be closed.

But a question mark remains over the financial implications.

Bryn Offa Wrexham
Bryn Offa has around 900 pupils

The cost of the alterations would be significant and it is believed that without additional money from the Welsh Assembly, it could be delayed.

If the plans get the go ahead the new schools would be much bigger than the existing sites.

However, councillors and parents have voiced concerns over the plans.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said: "The parents who contacted me are very worried about their children's education being disrupted.

"The present proposals include transferring children from the sites of Bryn Offa and St David's to the Groves site for a limited period - now that is worrying for parents who have their children approaching GCSE examinations."


Both schools will be fully comprehensive and offer equal provision in terms of curriculum and resources

Wynford Thomas, Wrexham council

Under the plans the intake of Bryn Offa and St David's would be increased to 1,200 pupils but the redevelopment would also mean disruption for youngsters during building work.

However, Wrexham County Borough Council has insisted the merger and closure would benefit pupils.

The authority's chief strategic services officer, Wynford Thomas, said: "The proposals will offer increased curriculum opportunities for young people.

"It will create an important and innovative partnership with Yale College of Wrexham, to provide vocational education for pupils of 14 plus.

"Further reports have been presented to both the Scrutiny Committee and Executive Board who has on every occasion, demanded more information from officers to ensure that each decision was fully informed.

St David's High School in Wrexham
St David's would specialise in language and arts

"The Executive Board have agreed to the closure of all three secondary schools and the opening two new schools on the Bryn Offa and St David's site.

"Both schools will be fully comprehensive and offer equal provision in terms of curriculum and resources."

Teaching staff from the school would be invited to re-apply for positions at the revamped schools although no redundancies have been forecast at this stage.

Wrexham County Borough Council predict that by 2005 there will be 900 surplus places at St David's, Bryn Offa and the Groves schools.

The scheme seen as a way of addressing the increasing number of students and improving their educational opportunities.

Parents choose

The Bryn Offa site would have enhanced science and technical options - and the site at St David's will offer better language and arts options.

Access to both schools would be by open enrolment and parents would be free to send children to the school of their choice.

The sale of the Groves to Yale would involve a major capital investment - though exact figures are not yet known.

The council has now embarked on an extensive consultation process with parents, teachers and the unions.

However, a final decision on the scheme is still some way off.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Wales
27 Sep 01 | Wales
09 May 00 | UK Education
28 Nov 00 | UK Education
29 Oct 01 | Wales
Internet links:


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