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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Protests at school closure plans
St Cuthbert's school protesters
Parents and pupils staged a march in protest of the planned closure
The first of several expected protests against plans to shut a number of schools in Cardiff because of 8,000 surplus places have taken place.

More than 100 pupils and parents of two city schools earmarked for closure staged demonstrations on Thursday.

Staff and children from St Illtyd's Catholic High School held a silent protest in the city centre.

More than 100 people from St Cuthbert's primary marched to Cardiff Council headquarters and the Welsh assembly.

Surplus places

The protests are over last week's announcement by the council of plans to close 11 primaries and six secondary schools in the city as part of a major education reorganisation.

The city currently has 8,000 more pupil places than are needed.

The proposals have led to opposition in some areas which could be affected if the plans go ahead.

Pupils at Cantonian High in Fairwater staged a demonstration last week after hearing their school could close.

St Cuthbert's school protesters
St Cuthbert's has been earmarked for closure in August 2007

Parents, pupils and staff at St Illtyd's, the Rumney area of Cardiff and St Cuthbert's, Butetown, held separate protests on Thursday.

Around 40 from St Illtyd's took part in a silent protest in Cardiff city centre while St Cuthbert's held a noisy march from the school to the Senedd, the home of the Welsh assembly, before moving on to Cardiff Council's County Hall where they handed in a petition against the planned closure.

Mohammed Yousef who has three children at St Cuthbert's described the plans by Cardiff Council as "ridiculous".

"This is totally unacceptable - absolutely ridiculous," he said.

"We've come here today to tell them how we feel about what they want to do."

Another parent, Justine Campbell who has five children at the school said the possible closure would be "a disaster".

Mohammed Yousef and his daughter Amani aged five
Mohammed Yousef and his daughter Amani joined the demo

She added: "I think it's disgusting - we've got five children at the school and if they close it we are really going to struggle to send all five to the same Catholic school."

The Cardiff proposals, which are going out to consultation, also outline plans for three new secondary schools and the expansion of some Welsh-medium schools.

Llanedeyrn, Llanrumney, Rumney, Cantonian, Mary Immaculate and St Illtyd's secondary schools could all close under the proposed shake-up.

Three new secondary schools - one a Welsh-medium - will open.

A Roman Catholic secondary could replace the lower school at Whitchurch High - currently the city's largest school - and a community secondary may open in Rumney.

Two primaries in Pontprennau, which currently has no schools, and another Welsh-medium school in the Trowbridge area will also be built, and 300m is pledged to carry out a backlog of repairs.

The leader of Cardiff Council Rodney Berman has said the council was under instruction from the Welsh assembly government and inspection body Estyn to reduce the number of places in the city.

The draft proposals were announced on 6 April for a three month consultation period.

Cardiff Council declined to comment on Thursday's protests.


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SEE ALSO:
Cardiff schools proposals
05 Apr 06 |  Wales
Concern over city school shake-up
21 Nov 05 |  South East Wales


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