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Monday, October 22, 2007

Gwynedd Schools

Despite the fact that many of us have been on the wrong end of a Plaid Cymru rant about how to handle school closures, about the importance of small rural schools and the necessity of keeping them open for the benefit of the language, I have no intention of returning their ire over Gwynedd's school reorganisation plans.

They have already lost their Education Cabinet member over these proposals, whilst Councillor Seimon Glyn has resigned from the Plaid Cymru group altogether. Welsh language campaigners are organising parents to protest and no doubt there will be a knock-on effect for the party in May's local elections. This is the biggest school closure plan ever proposed in Wales and it is bound to be controversial.

These proposals just underline the dilemma faced by every Council in Wales, falling pupil rolls, expensive surplus places, unfit buildings and much needed adaptations to meet modern teaching methods. The money is just not there, Welsh Government support is non-existent, whilst guidelines and funding methods make it well-nigh impossible to use the opportunity to introduce smaller class sizes, a moot point in Gwynedd anyway with its many small rural schools.

There are no easy solutions, but that does not necessarily mean that the hard solutions are the right ones either as no doubt Plaid Cymru will discover. I applaud their courage, and I sympathise with their plight and with that of parents, teachers and pupils. We cannot modernise our education system without breaking a few eggs but ultimately it is the electorate who will determine how many eggs and where.
Yes so long as those eggs which are broke does in fact help our kids and not cause more problems.

Right now we are looking at money again and not the children.
In Swansea the Council had to close Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Garnswllt as it was down to only eight pupils and numbers dropping. The Plaid Cymru party locally in Swansea jumped on the bandwagon of political opportunity in Garnswllt to criticise the Council's ruling Group of Lib Dems and Independents. Their criticisms were hostile and rude. It was of course their Leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones' old Primary School. I wonder if these Plaid Cymru opportunists, led by baby faced Councillor Darren Price, will go to Gwynedd to protest to keep twenty nine schools open - mostly with about thirty pupils each. Or will the fact that PLAID CYMRU run the LEA there deter their political opportunism. Answers please from Plaid Cymru.
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