Saturday, 15 October 2016

Good News for Gwernyfed

John Fitzgerald, who has been running the petition against the closure of Gwernyfed School on Facebook (and writing to Powys County Council on the subject) posted an update on Facebook on the 13th. There's no point in me summarising it - he says it all far better:

"Over the last 18 months I have been the bearer of negative messages and general bad news about Gwernyfed High School and it is therefore wonderful to be bringing a lot of good news. The start of the new term has brought a very different picture beginning of course with Powys CC announcement to abandon the closure plan which brought so much relief. Since then good new has been coming from a variety of directions:

1. The open evening for parents and students who were considering where pupils should go next September brought in a record number of people to the school from various parts of Powys. All the good news about this year’s exam results, the incredibly improved ranking for the school by Estyn and the ending of the uncertainty had filtered through. Encouragement for the future of the school indeed.

2. The First Minister in the Welsh Assembly Government has signed off an Outline Business Case (OBC) which includes funding to rebuild Brecon HS and £6 million to develop Gwernyfed HS. Now one has to be a bit wary because Powys have not worked out a detailed plan but appear at the moment to be consulting the school. However, we know from experience that trusting this LA is not sensible (ask the people of Hay) so we will need to keep a close watch on their every step. For example, the idea of a two site, one school proposal has been removed but there is a degree of ambiguity elsewhere in the OBC so we do need to keep a close watch on this bunch.

3. Kayleigh Hughes, deputy head of the arts Faculty at Gwernyfed HS has been appointed as an Arts Champion for a joint Welsh Government and Arts Council initiative to work with schools to inspire and increase creativity in all subjects, not just the arts, and to form networks between schools and arts organisation. Kayleigh will work with schools across Mid-Wales but will retain her role at Gwernyfed HS. This is brilliant news for Kayleigh and the school so congratulations to both.

4. Following on from the above it has just been announced that Gwernyfed HS has been appointed a “a pioneer school” by the Welsh Government to support other schools implement the “Donaldson Report” which if successful will radically change for the better the way education is delivered in Wales. Again brilliant news for the school and a recognition of the quality of the staff and available education.

5. Shane Jenkins the head of science at Gwernyfed HS has just been given a fantastic award. Every year the Institute of Physics identify six teachers from across the UK as physics teachers of the year, Shane is one of the six for 2016. The citation describes him as “an inspirational, enthusiastic and committed teacher “. Isn’t that amazing both for Shane and the school?

What all this says of course is something we have known all along, the plan to close Gwernyfed HS was fatally flawed, but what is so impressive is how the school and staff have achieved all this despite the efforts of Powys CC to batter the school into submission.

We have reached a stage where we will shortly have to close the petition but I will down load contact details so that if Powys start misbehaving we can contact you again. It therefore only remains for me to thank you for all the support you have given the school over the last 18 months and wish you well."

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