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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Concerns as schools face closure
Lee Carpenter
Lee Carpenter want to keep his daughter at Trap primary school
Carmarthenshire County Council has unveiled a 10-year programme which could see the closure of around 30 primary schools.

The 110m re-organisation of education in the county follows a long and detailed review.

But while there will be one new secondary and 19 new primaries created around a quarter of the existing schools will shut.

However some parents and activists are unhappy with the prospect of school closures.

Names of most schools in the ten-year programme have not yet been announced, but the first will be in the next few weeks.

Trap primary school near Llandeilo with just seven pupils is the smallest in the county.

Whilst some parents have already moved their children elsewhere Lee Carpenter has kept his daughter at the school.

They're talking about buildings, they're not talking about people and they're not talking about education
Ffred Ffransis, Cymdeithas yr Iaith
"Its' such an unique environment for our little girl to be taught in," Mr Carpenter said.

"She's getting the equivalent of a private education.

"Again even if the numbers increased to 20 or 30 she would still be very privileged.

"The government policy at the moment is to invest in education and reduce class sizes. Here it is."

The leader of Carmarthenshire Council, Meryl Gravell, has defended the major restructuring of the county's schools.

"We had photographs yesterday of outdoor toilets, we hear of staff teaching in corridors in Llannon for example," she said.

"There are many examples where I would never want to put my grand-daughter in."

Even though council chief executive Mark James said small schools with one or two teachers would be phased out education director Alun Davies said the council was looking at the needs of each area individually.

"We have no fixed concept of what the provision will look like in the future," he said.

Ysgol Bro Brynach
Ysgol Bro Brynch is a model facility for the council

"We have set out our ideas - they are initial plans - there will be more discussion to come."

Some proposals are already known, such as uniting Queen Elizabeth Cambria and Maridunum secondary schools in Carmarthen.

In the Llanelli area, Llwynhendy Junior and Ysgol Yr Ynys will be merged to form one learning centre, as will Copperworks and Lakefield.

Carmarthenshire wants many of its schools to become "community resources", open from 0800BST until 2200BST offering adult education as well.

Ysgol Bro Brynch in Llanboidy, which opened in September is a model facility for the council and it has taken pupils from four other schools.

The council says the modernisation process will also look at updating school facilities, such as creating new buildings and getting rid of outdoor toilets.

Ffred Ffransis, from the Welsh language group Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said the council's plans are not beneficial to small Welsh speaking communities.

"The days of centralising everything into large central schools - they're gone - that's not modernisation.

"They're talking about buildings, they're not talking about people and they're not talking about education," he said.

The programme will be funded partly by the Welsh Assembly Government, partly from the council budget and through the sale of assets if needed.




SEE ALSO:
Babysitting taught in classroom
09 Sep 04  |  South West Wales
School closes in pioneer's village
16 Jul 04  |  South West Wales
School with eight pupils to close
03 Apr 04  |  South West Wales
Parents set up fighting fund
17 Sep 04  |  Wales


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