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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
School shake-up details revealed
A class at Queen Elizabeth Cambria School, Carmarthen
Queen Elizabeth Cambria is one of the schools subject to merger
The first areas of Carmarthenshire to be affected by a huge education shake-up have been revealed.

The 110m re-organisation over 10 years in the county follows a long and detailed review.

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

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

Among the first details, announced on Monday, are:

  • A 4m new school for pupils at Copperworks and Lakefield, Llanelli;
  • A 3.25m school to replace Bryn Primary, Llanelli;

    It's such an unique environment for our little girl to be taught in
    Parent Lee Carpenter

  • A 4m school for Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, Llanelli;
  • New 1.5m schools for both Brynsierfel and Penygroes;
  • A 1.25m school for Pembrey;
  • A 2m school for Trimsaran;
  • A 2m building for Peniel, near Carmarthen.

In Carmarthen, there was confirmation that Maridunum and Queen Elizabeth Cambria secondary schools will be merged with a 25m comprehensive to be built.

Future schemes include 5m for two new schools in the area serving Cefneithin, Drefach, Cross Hands, Maesybont, Cwmgwili and Nantygroes.

Lee Carpenter
Lee Carpenter wants to keep his daughter at Trap primary

Two new schools will also be built in the area serving Ffairfach, Llandeilo, Nantygroes, Trap, Ysgol Teilo Sant and Cwmifor.

New schools will be built in the areas serving Talley, Caio, Rhydcymerau, Brechfa, Llansawel, and Gwynfryn, Ponthenri, Pontiets and Carway.

A 3m school will also be built in the area serving Llandybie, Blaenau and Nantygroes.

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

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

'Model facility'

"It's 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."

Reasons for review:
38 of 133 primary schools have mobile classrooms
20m needed just to bring buildings up to standard
14 have no indoor toilets
Laboratories at a third of secondaries were "unsatisfactory"

Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price and Rhodri Glyn Thomas, AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, said they had concerns about aspects of the plan.

"We fear the authority has decided to look only at closure rather than more progressive options such as school clusters," they said. "Schools are often the lifeblood of communities; their closure has an immeasurable negative effect on the communities they serve.

"There are certain cases naturally when closure must be considered, however with this organisational plan, the council have decided on a premeditated wholesale closure package without looking at each case individually."

But 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.

Councillor Mary Thomas, a member of the council's education executive, said: "The authority is committed to, where necessary, finding the significant capital required to support the provision of new buildings to replace the totally inadequate current buildings at many of our schools."

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

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

The council said the modernisation process would also look at updating schools, such as creating new buildings and getting rid of outdoor toilets.

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

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