Thursday, 10 March 2016

Council Meeting - Schools

Fiona Howard has met the architect of the new Hay School - and she wasn't impressed.
The idea is for building work to start in January 2017, with the finish date being January 2018 at the latest.
However - remember all those plans that were in the Library, and the consultations? Remember the idea that the new community centre and the Library were going to be incorporated in a school for 240 pupils?
Well, you can forget all that, because it's not going to happen.

The present plans for the new school consist of six classrooms for 180 children. The Library will still be part of the new building, because the County Council says they have to sell the present Library site to fund the new build, but there will be no community centre provision.
Now, there are 176 pupils at the school now, and that's before we get an extra 80 houses from Persimmon and 15 on the old community centre site, so the school will instantly be too small for the catchment area. And when Fiona Howard asked the architect why there were only six class rooms, when there should be eight to accommodate all the year groups, the architect said he didn't understand what a year group was. The school will also be losing the nursery class, as children will be starting school a bit later in future to save the County Council some money.

So none of the councillors are happy about this, and it was also pointed out that Talgarth and Bronllys are due to have new schools built soon - will they be smaller than originally planned, too? So what is decided in Hay about the size of the school could have a knock on effect for Talgarth and Bronllys.

Understandably, it was the state of the primary school that was the main concern of the councillors. When they moved on to consider the situation at Gwernyfed High School, obviously they didn't want it to close, but their main concern was with the young children going through the education system now, and the uncertainty about the future of the schools they are going to. Some children have already been transferred from one primary school to another, and now face going to a secondary school which might be closed down at any time. It's not fair to the children.
Also unfair is the loss of the Sixth Form. The County Council say that Neath Port Talbot will take over provision, but they have no science labs, and sixth formers will have to be bussed to different locations to access different courses - not the most ideal situation for an education. Of course, in Hay, there is the option of heading for Hereford.

In a separate development, County Councillor James Gibson-Watt, who represents Glasbury, has pointed out that the sports facilities at Gwernyfed have been built with lottery money - and the Lottery Fund has a continuing interest in the developments their money has paid for, for eighty years. So their permission must be sought to make any changes. The County Council don't seem to have considered that at all.
There is excellent coverage of the whole Gwernyfed situation in the Brecon and Radnor Express this week.

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