Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Council leader stifles debate on The Groves

Plans to develop and improve schools in Wrexham have been described as a "mixed bag" by Plaid Cymru councillors.

Plaid Cymru's group has welcomed Wrexham Council's bid for 21st Century funding from the Welsh Government to improve schools, including plans to open a new Welsh-medium school for Borras.

But they have also criticised the plans as "vague" and "confusing" after the council refused to consider developing the vacant Groves site. They also condemned the failure to assess need for future Welsh-medium education need, including a second secondary school in the county.

Cllr Marc Jones, leader of the group, said: 
"We're fully behind the bid for 21st Century funding from the Welsh Government to improve our schools here in Wrexham. The new Welsh-medium school in Borras is long overdue given the pressures we've seen on the other schools in this category.
"Having said that, we are concerned - like many parents are - that there's no evidence of long-term planning to meet the evident demand for Welsh-medium education that's feeding through primary level and will soon impact on Ysgol Morgan Llwyd. The school has had to create a new form in Year Seven to cope with the growing demand and this is only going to increase in future. We want the council to be planning in detail for that growth now so that it can find a suitable site for a second school."
Cllr Jones also criticised attempts by the council leader to stifle debate on The Groves site: 
"Today's Executive Board had a report before it discussing schools and education. It acknowledged the pressures facing town-centre schools and mentioned The Groves site.
"That site was withdrawn from sale to Coleg Cambria by the council in November 2015 on the grounds that it was needed to meet the county's educational needs. Yet the 21st Century Schools Plan - which takes us to 2024 - does not mention developing the site and describes the building as being 'surplus to educational requirement'. If that's the case why did the council keep hold of it?
"The leader's refusal to take questions on that matter from a number of councillors was a disgrace and undermines the whole point of having the opportunity to quiz lead members on important matters like this. We need a wider discussion on what should happen to that site and the thought of it lying idle for another seven years is scandalous."

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