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Plaid give in over Rhondda schools fight

At the Council meeting on 17 January members were presented with a financial report asking approval to borrow almost £40 million pounds to press ahead with the reorganization of Rhondda schools.

The plans involve the removal of sixth forms from Tonypandy, Porth and Ferndale and the creation of through 3 - 16 and 3 - 18 year old schools and have been widely criticized by residents and former teachers.

The proposed cost has escalated from the original £75 million to almost £80 million before work has even started. .

RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat Campaign Manager Karen Roberts has been at the forefront of the campaign against the plans and says she was disappointed to see Plaid opposition had vanished.

"At the Council meeting the only one to speak up against the proposal was Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell. Pauline Jarman speaking on behalf of Plaid said that it would remain to be seen whether the people of the Rhondda were happy about it but that they would support the borrowing of the money.

"Mike's lone voice may not have made any practical difference given that the Labour group are more than big enough to always get their own way, but at least he stuck to his principles. It says a lot that not a single Rhondda Councillor spoke about it.

"Maybe Plaid have realised that some people in Treorchy and Tonyrefail where they have a concentration of support are in favour of the plans. Not surprising since they will not lose out at all and Tonyrefail will get a brand new school.

"That may have dampened their enthusiasm for speaking out against the plans.

"Whatever the reason I am sure campaigners will be as disappointed as I am that they have just rolled over."

Comments

Plaid Cymru have never been in favour of keeping sixth forms open for the sake of it. In cases where there are sufficient provision for 16-18 year olds to attend an FE college to conduct their post 16 education, they consider this not only a good alternative, but very much desriable.  Unlike the LibDem lone voice, it's important to allow young adults access to vocational study. Increasingly, many of these young people want to do courses to earn a trade, perhaps like plumbing. Maybe they'd make a better job of it than Cllr Powell who was convicted of putting lives in danger by commissioning unqualified staff to work on gas boilers. There are many young people who don't want to languish in a sixth form classroom and want to do something more usefull.