Monday, August 15, 2005

British Parties in a muddle over small village schools!

The three British Parties in Wales have gotten themselves into a right old muddle on the matter of small village schools.

The Liberal Democrat-led administration on Swansea Council has rubber stamped the closure of the small Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Garnswllt primary school at its Cabinet meeting. However the Liberal Democrats held a protest at the Eisteddfod in North Wales two weeks ago calling for the protection of rural schools.

Swansea Councillor Peter Black, who is also the Liberal Democrats’ spokesman on Education at the Assembly, stated as part of the Eisteddfod campaign,

Rural schools often have a vital role in supporting the community. They are a resource for the whole community and contribute to developing community life, particularly in Welsh-speaking areas.
The Conservatives in South West Wales are also very confused on the issue. Carmarthenshire Cllr John Jenkins - the only Conservative Councillor in Carmarthenshire said,
I support the principle of the Modernising Education Provision draft plan (closure of up to 40 small village schools in Carmarthenshire) and recognise the need to rationalise education resources in Carmarthenshire.
Whilst Glyn Davies, who represents Carmarthenshire in the Assembly as part of the Mid and West Wales Region, said,
I do not support the strategy in Carmarthenshire... The Conservative’s policy is to keep small rural schools open whenever possible. I have already asked a question in the Welsh Assembly, but the Minister would not answer – as usual.
And the British Labour Party in Wales' stance is even more confused. Whilst supporting the closure of village schools in Carmarthenshire, just down the road in Swansea, they are bitterly opposed to a similar 'modernising' plan! Jane Davidson, the Education Minister in Cardiff Bay, has also supported the closure of tens of village schools over the last few years.

200 village schools throughout Wales are in danger. It's about time the British parties stopped playing politics with the education of our children. Get your act together!

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Actually, contrary to your assertions all of the steps I called for in my press release were followed in the case of Garnswllt. The press release also said that in some cases closure was inevitable and so it proved in this case. However, there was no rubber stamping. The consultation was thorough and all views were taken into account. It is just that in this case Plaid Cymru were in a minority of one.