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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Nation braced for school shake-up
Classroom scene
Falling pupil numbers in Cardiff have prompted the review
Parents across Wales are bracing themselves for more school closures following the decision to reorganise schools across Cardiff.

Schools could be closed under the first phase of the city council's school reorganisation.

It is expected to be the biggest round of closures in Wales with three high schools initially earmarked to shut.

Authorities including Anglesey, Powys, Gwynedd and Denbighshire are also considering closure plans.

Cardiff Council unveiled its reorganisation plans for the city's secondary schools on Tuesday, saying change was needed because of shrinking family sizes and a big demand for children to be educated in Welsh.

It is the second time the Liberal Democrat-led authority has tried to implement widespread closures in the city's school system.

CARDIFF SCHOOL PROPOSALS
Close Llanedeyrn High, move St Teilo's onto its site
Welsh-medium secondary school to open on St Teilo's site
Close Llanrumney and Rumney High Schools, build new school at Eastern Leisure Centre
Unite Whitchurch High on the lower school site
Eglwys Newydd primary site to become play area for Whitchurch High
Future of Cantonian High and Radyr Comprehensive for discussion in September
Cefn Onn and St Anne's primaries to close

It has 8,000 spare school places, costing 3m a year, and has faced pressure from the assembly government and the school inspection body Estyn to halt the waste in money.

When a school's roll falls, so does its funding. The council said if no action was taken then within 10 years about half the city's secondary schools will have lost about 30% of their funding.

Last year fierce opposition among parents, pupils and political opponents stopped the reorganisation going ahead, but this time the council said it had reached "cross-party consensus".

Under the latest plans three high schools - Llanedeyrn, Llanrumney and Rumney - are earmarked for closure.

The future of two other secondaries - Cantonian and Radyr - will also be considered in the autumn.

Put children first

Two schools would be built, one a Welsh-medium high school and the other an English-language secondary.

Councillor Judith Woodman, whose Pentwyn ward includes the threatened Llanedeyrn school, said the changes must be pushed through this time round.

Coun Woodman said the council had reached consensus with all parties involved which she hoped would hold through next year's election.

"We have to put the interests of the children in the city first."

School closure protesters
Parent protests over school closures have become common

The latest closure plans in Cardiff mostly affect secondaries with plans for primary closures expected next year.

One proposal would close Llanedeyrn High School, and move St Teilo's Church in Wales School onto the site.

Cardiff's third Welsh-medium secondary school would then open on the St Teilo's site.

There is also a plan to shut both Llanrumney High and Rumney High, and a build a new school for 11-16-year-olds on the site of Eastern Leisure Centre in Llanrumney.

The council also proposes uniting Whitchurch High on one site, instead of the current two. It would mean Whitchurch moving onto the site of the lower school.

Eglwys Newydd Primary School would also be acquired and demolished to use as a play area for Whitchurch High.

Partnership arrangements

Pupils from Eglwys Newydd and nearby Eglwys Wen Primary will be merged into a brand new school building on the Whitchurch upper school site.

The fate of Cantonian High in Fairwater and Radyr Comprehensive will be reconsidered in September.

Glyn Drew High and Michaelston Community College will be asked to formalise their partnership arrangements, and two primaries, Cefn Onn and St Anne's would close.

The proposals will be up for discussion at a council committee meeting on 13 July, and the future of primary schools will be examined further next year.

Two sixth forms

Council leader Rodney Berman said: "We have difficult problems to tackle but, at the same time, this is our chance to improve educational provision for all children across Cardiff for generations to come."

The falling numbers of children and what to do with the unfilled school places is also being addressed across Wales - and has resulted in many anti-closure campaigns.

In Gwynedd and Anglesey consultations with parents and local communities is under way.

Powys is also reviewing its school provision after 4,000 surplus primary places were identified there.

Last month a report recommending shutting two sixth-forms in Rhyl in Denbighshire and creating a new centre was put out to consultation.




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SEE ALSO
Two valleys comprehensives close
15 Jul 05 |  South East Wales
Closure threat to Cardiff schools
05 Aug 05 |  South East Wales
Parents consulted on schools plan
19 Jun 05 |  South West Wales
Pupil number fall forces re-think
06 May 05 |  North East Wales

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