Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A brighter future for Neath Port Talbot pupils

A progress report on the first phase of the Council's programme for school improvement is being presented to councillors next week (Wednesday 16th September 2009).The report will contain proposals for change involving new school build, remodelling schemes, and the amalgamation and closure of some schools.

The Council will be consulting upon the proposals over the forthcoming weeks enabling schools, parents and others to make their views known before final decisions are taken.

Getting the views of pupils, parents, teachers, school governors and the wider community will play a key part in shaping decisions about future educational provision in the county borough.

The report is the next stage of the Council's strategic school improvement programme. Priority areas for action were approved last March and now the Council is ready to consult on specific proposals for individual schools.

In order that children and young people are provided with the best educational experiences and opportunities for learning, the Council is closely linking its school organisation proposals to school improvement.

The newly built Pen Afan Primary serving the Gwynfi area in the Afan Valley leads the way for school improvement in Neath Port Talbot.

It is a vision of how education should be delivered in the years to come.

The report to Council in March identifies a number of schools that have shown themselves to be in need of improvement. Some have educational standards issues, others have poor buildings. Surplus places and a high cost per pupil are also considerations.

Consulation is now about to start on closing Duffryn Afan Primary School in the Afan Valley whose pupils would move to Cymer Afan Primary.

Another proposal is to close Llangwig and Godre'r Graig Primary Schools and open a remodelled school on the site of Llangwig.

Bringing Dwr y Felin Comprehensive lower and upper schools in Neath together on one site and closing Glanymor and Tirmorfa primaries and opening a new school on the Glanymor site will also go out for consultation.

Under the proposals, Maes Y Coed special school in Bryncoch would be expanded as would Velindre Community School.

Crynallt Infant and Junior schools would be amalgamated and a first step taken to make Central Infant and Junior into an 'all through' primary school.

A detailed survey is yet to be carried out of the community needs of Lower Brynamman to feed into the provision of education in the future.

A full scale review of education in Port Talbot is also being recommended by education officers.

Corporate Director for Education at Neath Port Talbot Council, Karl Napieralla, said, "There are difficult decisions to be taken if we are to deal with the serious issues of falling school rolls, surplus capacity and out dated school buildings. However, in tackling these issues, the Council is keeping teaching and learning at the forefront of its thinking and planning. It also wishes to ensure that the best use is being made of available resources.

"Neath Port Talbot is leading the way in educational improvement in Wales and the Council intends maintaining this position.

"The strategic school improvement programme allows the Council to take stock of where it is now and plan for what needs to be done in order to ensure the right schools are in the right places and that they are fit for the 21st century.

"This is a long-term programme and the proposals in this report are the first steps in bringing about change that will deliver high quality teaching and learning for children and young people."



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