Anger as parents meet over Gaer schools merger

Anger as parents meet over Gaer schools merger

Anger as parents meet over Gaer schools merger

First published in News

A MEETING at Newport's Gaer Infants School on saw tempers flare between parents and councillors.

Parents and governors at the school are preparing to fight proposals to amalgamate the infant and junior schools to make space for an Autistic Spectrum Disorder special school in the infants building.

The proposals are part of plans to amalgamate four city schools to tackle falling pupil numbers.

Gaer councillors Debbie Wilcox, Herbie Thomas and Mark Whitcutt all attended the meeting on Thursday - along with 42 other people.

Parents are worried their children's education will suffer if they are "crammed" into the junior school building.

When parents asked Cllr Whitcutt if he was on their side, he said he would put their issues to the council, but that in his opinion a combined infant and junior school was better for children.

Cllr Thomas was forced to step in as angry parents shouted at Cllr Whitcutt.

Cllr Whitcutt then said: "I'm not here to tell you what you want to hear."

Parent Maria Farrelly has a son in both the Infant and Junior schools. She said: "What is the point of having a representative to represent us if he does not support our views? How can he represent them properly?

"How can they tell us our children's education won't be affected? I don't believe it."

Cllr Whitcutt was then accused of misquoting Debbie Haile, vice-chairwoman of the school governors, who said he was being "a bit disrespectful".

Cllr Whitcutt responded: "I'm not disrespecting you, but I think you are disrespecting me."

Mrs Haile said: "Everyone feels really strongly about this. There really is no legitimate reason to move us. They say it's a matter of surplus, but figures show we will meet those requirements within the next five years. "It's not like we want more money, or more equipment or buildings. We just want to be left alone.

"If we move we will lose all the things that make this school so wonderful. The timber trail was paid for by the community - it's not like we can take it with us. The children will lose their gardens and play equipment. We just can't see any benefit to us being moved. It's illogical."

Have your say on the plans until January 18 online at www.newport.gov.uk/haveyoursay

Comments (8)

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4:28pm Sun 13 Jan 13

areyour4real says...

It sounds fair to amalgamate the infant and junior schools to make space for an Autistic Spectrum Disorder special school in the infants building.

It's a shame but Mark Whitcutt comes across as a bit of an idiot when he opens his mouth, some people might say he looks like one too.

Realistically there is no point trying to fighting it as I'm sure it is a done deal.

People have to think longterm, this is a good solution for falling pupil numbers and a good outcome for kids with Autism.
It sounds fair to amalgamate the infant and junior schools to make space for an Autistic Spectrum Disorder special school in the infants building. It's a shame but Mark Whitcutt comes across as a bit of an idiot when he opens his mouth, some people might say he looks like one too. Realistically there is no point trying to fighting it as I'm sure it is a done deal. People have to think longterm, this is a good solution for falling pupil numbers and a good outcome for kids with Autism. areyour4real
  • Score: 0

8:50pm Sun 13 Jan 13

debbiehaile says...

Nonsense, it makes no sense at all.

It has zero benefits for the Gaer, so why should we support it?

There are no grounds to take our school building, other than NCC's need to find a permanent location for the Autistic School.

It is grossly unfair on all these children, Gaer and ASD, that their lives and education are being played with by the Education department in order to facilitate a school reorganisation programme that avoids the need to build a new school building, despite this programme involving the creation of 2 new schools, in essence, as both the ASD school and Bro Teyrnon are using space in other schools, so this would mark the first time either school had a building of their own.

ASD children deserve the best chances, but so do Gaer children, and this proposal favours one over the other, a situation that is a disgrace.

The parents of children with ASD should be fighting for a school building of their own that does not involve displacing over 200 children and negatively impacting the education of nearly 500.
Nonsense, it makes no sense at all. It has zero benefits for the Gaer, so why should we support it? There are no grounds to take our school building, other than NCC's need to find a permanent location for the Autistic School. It is grossly unfair on all these children, Gaer and ASD, that their lives and education are being played with by the Education department in order to facilitate a school reorganisation programme that avoids the need to build a new school building, despite this programme involving the creation of 2 new schools, in essence, as both the ASD school and Bro Teyrnon are using space in other schools, so this would mark the first time either school had a building of their own. ASD children deserve the best chances, but so do Gaer children, and this proposal favours one over the other, a situation that is a disgrace. The parents of children with ASD should be fighting for a school building of their own that does not involve displacing over 200 children and negatively impacting the education of nearly 500. debbiehaile
  • Score: 0

9:27pm Sun 13 Jan 13

debbiehaile says...

Also, I should point out, we have RISING not FALLING pupil numbers and within 5 years will have almost no surplus places at all, according to NCC's own figures.

So, no, it is not a solution to address falling pupil numbers.

It's a solution to address the failure of NCC to plan ahead for a permanent location for Bro Teyrnon when they outgrew their space in Maindee school.
Also, I should point out, we have RISING not FALLING pupil numbers and within 5 years will have almost no surplus places at all, according to NCC's own figures. So, no, it is not a solution to address falling pupil numbers. It's a solution to address the failure of NCC to plan ahead for a permanent location for Bro Teyrnon when they outgrew their space in Maindee school. debbiehaile
  • Score: 0

12:02am Mon 14 Jan 13

Mwy Eira says...

I agree Debbie. The plan for Bro Teyrnon was to provide a permanent location in the west of the city in a new build. Promises, promises (just like their promise of a Welsh medium secondary school in the city by 2014). Just look at all the english medium schools that have been rebuilt. Instead they want to put it in a place that will involve busing all the kids (some only just 4) across Newport yet again as I doubt there are many children that it would benefit being sited at Brynglas. It'll be nightmare top get to in the rush hour and even if you lived less than 2 miles away and were deemed able to walk, the route would be extremely dangerous. Everything is a fight for welsh medium education and the council leave it to crisis point before they do anything about it.
I agree Debbie. The plan for Bro Teyrnon was to provide a permanent location in the west of the city in a new build. Promises, promises (just like their promise of a Welsh medium secondary school in the city by 2014). Just look at all the english medium schools that have been rebuilt. Instead they want to put it in a place that will involve busing all the kids (some only just 4) across Newport yet again as I doubt there are many children that it would benefit being sited at Brynglas. It'll be nightmare top get to in the rush hour and even if you lived less than 2 miles away and were deemed able to walk, the route would be extremely dangerous. Everything is a fight for welsh medium education and the council leave it to crisis point before they do anything about it. Mwy Eira
  • Score: 0

8:16am Mon 14 Jan 13

debbiehaile says...

Thanks Mwy. I think their whole current reorganisation scheme is basically rubbish, they should throw it away in the bin where it belongs, then ACTUALLY CONSULT with parents of ALL the children involved, especially the Welsh Medium and ASD pupils, to sort this situation out properly. They can also leave us out of it as it is really nothing to do with us at all! We just want to be left alone, as we have no issues that this amalgamation of our schools will solve.

I am sure that there is a more suitable west Newport location to be found for Bro Teyrnon, with just a little thought and consideration of perhaps not so obvious buildings (ie something not already a school that could be transformed into one, such as the empty Queens Council chambers just behind the Council next to Queen's Hill.)

Then the ASD school can be sited at Brynglas, where they'e already spent millions, so I've heard, making it fit for purpose for them.
Thanks Mwy. I think their whole current reorganisation scheme is basically rubbish, they should throw it away in the bin where it belongs, then ACTUALLY CONSULT with parents of ALL the children involved, especially the Welsh Medium and ASD pupils, to sort this situation out properly. They can also leave us out of it as it is really nothing to do with us at all! We just want to be left alone, as we have no issues that this amalgamation of our schools will solve. I am sure that there is a more suitable west Newport location to be found for Bro Teyrnon, with just a little thought and consideration of perhaps not so obvious buildings (ie something not already a school that could be transformed into one, such as the empty Queens Council chambers just behind the Council next to Queen's Hill.) Then the ASD school can be sited at Brynglas, where they'e already spent millions, so I've heard, making it fit for purpose for them. debbiehaile
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Mon 14 Jan 13

Davidian47 says...

Please take the following in the right way from someone who has been there and lost the fight to leep a School open.

Keep you fight real and base it on facts and stay right away from emotional responses.

Gather you facts and make sure they are right and then use them. Don't be tied up in knots.

Keep parents who get hightly emotional under control and keep you dignity. Some of ours didn't and it did us no favours.

As i said, don't take me the wrong way. I mean it with the best of intention from soemone who still bears the scars.

Good luck.
Please take the following in the right way from someone who has been there and lost the fight to leep a School open. Keep you fight real and base it on facts and stay right away from emotional responses. Gather you facts and make sure they are right and then use them. Don't be tied up in knots. Keep parents who get hightly emotional under control and keep you dignity. Some of ours didn't and it did us no favours. As i said, don't take me the wrong way. I mean it with the best of intention from soemone who still bears the scars. Good luck. Davidian47
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Mon 14 Jan 13

debbiehaile says...

Thanks David, that is very good advice. Our facts are strong, which really helps, and they are based on what the Council themselves have written, so unless they are wrong, we can be sure they are accurate.

I appreciate your remarks, and I hope to be able to report back here in months to come that common sense and fairness have prevailed.
Thanks David, that is very good advice. Our facts are strong, which really helps, and they are based on what the Council themselves have written, so unless they are wrong, we can be sure they are accurate. I appreciate your remarks, and I hope to be able to report back here in months to come that common sense and fairness have prevailed. debbiehaile
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Mon 14 Jan 13

Davidian47 says...

Debbie

Good luck - keep strong and keep a cool head. They are very good at getting people very hot headed.

I hope all goes well and i look forward to hearing of your success.
Debbie Good luck - keep strong and keep a cool head. They are very good at getting people very hot headed. I hope all goes well and i look forward to hearing of your success. Davidian47
  • Score: 0

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