AM opposes Cwrt Sart Closure PDF Print E-mail
Written by Suzy Davies AM/AC   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 00:00

REGIONAL AM’s Suzy Davies and Byron Davies are lodging objections with Neath Port Talbot Council to their plans to close Cwrt Sart School.

The two, who are Welsh Conservative Regional AM’s for South Wales West, will be sending in separate objections which will be forwarded to Education Minister Leighton Andrews along with every other objection registered. He will make the final decision.

Mrs Davies said that she would be pointing out to the minister that the council has failed to strike a balance between two Welsh Government policy priorities: reducing surplus school places and the provision of safe routes to school.

“There are many problems with the route from Briton Ferry to Sandfields,” she said. “The Welsh Government is currently reviewing guidance on safe routes to school. No council should consider relying on these guidelines as they are.

“The proposals for the superschool are ambitious and expensive so the council should not pursue them until the Welsh Government has clarified its position on safe routes to school.

“But the council has ploughed on regardless with its plans leaving itself vulnerable to a legal challenge. More importantly, it leaves pupils vulnerable to danger.”

Mrs Davies said that children from the Melin, who will not go to the new school, will instead have to walk to Cefn Saeson School in Cimla.

“The council appears to have given no consideration at all to what route these children will take. It’s a bit of an afterthought and that’s not good enough.”

Byron Davies said that the community divide between Briton Ferry and Port Talbot concerned him.

“The council is trying to pretend that there are links between Briton Ferry and Port Talbot but everything I am being told points to the fact that Briton Ferry is a distinct community with a strong sense of identity.

“If there are links to anywhere, they are with Neath. I know that many parents from Briton Ferry are unhappy at the prospect of seeing their children walk three miles to the new school at Sandfields and I fear that many may just take their children out of the feeder primary schools for Cwrt Sart and put their children into schools that feed into Dwr y Felin and Cefn Season schools - assuming that there is enough capacity.

“We could end up with a real dog’s breakfast with a new superschool in Port Talbot with fewer pupils than expected while schools in Neath are bursting at the seams.”

He will be urging the minister to instruct Neath Port Talbot Council to go back to the drawing board.

“This plan is costed at £40m – that’s an awful lot of money and it’s important that we get it absolutely right. I would like the council to look at the option of creating a super school in Port Talbot, incorporating all three comprehensive schools in the town. That should give them the numbers they need.

“Similarly, they could create a new school for Neath, drawing together pupils from the three comprehensive schools. To my mind, that makes far more sense than trying to cross the natural boundaries that exist between what are two separate communities.”
 

 

Promoted by Suzy Davies at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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