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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Plaid fights for three valley schools

Schools in the Ceiriog Valley should be kept open, according to Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru's group of councillors has come out against council plans to close Ysgol Pontfadog and continue dual-streaming in Ysgol Cynddelw.

Group leader Marc Jones said: "The three schools in the Ceiriog Valley federation serve differing needs. Ysgol Llanarmon DC is Wrexham's only naturally Welsh-speaking school serving the higher end of the valley.

"Ysgol Cynddelw has been a dual-stream school but, of late, the Welsh-medium stream has proved so popular that it is effectively becoming a Welsh-language school. Ysgol Pontfadog currently offers English-medium education for the valley. 

 "We recognise the reality of developments in Cynddelw and believe it should become a Welsh-medium school to serve the main population centre of the valley. We also believe Ysgol Pontfadog should continue to serve the community as an English-language school.

 "This option safeguards provision in both languages and provide the best choice for parents. It is also supported by the federation's governing body."

The group has challenged the council to explain how their proposals to close Pontfadog would result in school improvements, given that there will be a need to invest in increasing provision at Cynddelw as well as providing transport for pupils from Pontfadog.

Cllr Jones added: "In many ways, this is a good news story for the Welsh language right on the border. Parents who don't speak Welsh currently have the choice of two streams and are increasingly opting for the Welsh-language stream. It makes no sense that this positive advance for the Welsh language should be undermined by closing Ysgol Pontfadog, which should continue to provide a dedicated English-language provision.

 "The federated school appears to be working well and the three sites offer pupils on the valley good options. Only 16 of the 253 respondents to the consultation favoured what the council is proposing, which in itself raises questions about the purpose and value of such consultations."

 "Our other concern, if the council's proposal to close one school is taken, is that it could ultimately lead to the centralisation of all education in the valley on one site and that would be problematic for pupils living in the very uppermost reaches of the valley."

A decision on the three options facing Wrexham Council's Executive Board will be taken today (Tuesday).

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