The Labour Cabinet in RCT have decided, despite substantial opposition and reasoned argument from parents, pupils, governors, staff and former staff, to press ahead with their plans to reorganise Rhondda and Tonyrefail Schools.
The proposals mean that several primary schools will be closed and amalgamated into local secondary schools. A number of Secondary Schools, namely Porth, Tonypandy and Ferndale, will lose their sixth forms completely.
If the scheme goes ahead a system of education that is inconsistent and completely unequal will exist in the area with some primary schools remaining as they are whilst others merge into 3 - 16 or 3 -1 19 schools.
Tonypandy and Porth will house children aged from 3 to 16, Ferndale 11 to 16, Treorchy 11 to 19 and Tonyrefail 3 to 19. It will be a complete postcode lottery whether your child will attend a through school or not. Tonyrefail - in the ward of the Cabinet Member for Education - will benefit from brand new buildings and plenty of outside space whilst Porth and Tonypandy sites are hugely unsuitable for the proposed development.
They say they are doing this because there are too many surplus places especially in the Secondary Schools. The Education Director claims that the educational benefits are worth it, but it seems there is little evidence to base that on apart from his say so. His children, I am led to believe, are schooled in the Vale of Glamorgan so will not be affected by this.
The rest of RCT will not be affected by this. Aberdare has recently benefitted from a brand new Secondary School and there are plans for new Primary schools in the area. A proposal to amalgamate Mountain Ash Comprehensive and Caegarw was stopped following objections from the now leader Andrew Morgan whose ward is there. A significant amount of money - £24million - is being spent on Y Pant school but that will not be converted to a 3 to 19 school either.
The proposals are now subject to what is called a Statutory Notice from 5th June when people have a chance to object once again, but this time the Education Minister will decide whether or not to press forward with these ludicrous plans. Hopefully he will take a more balanced and common sense view than his Labour counterparts in RCT.
Chair RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats