Parents fighting school merger in Gaer, Newport hand in 400-name petition

South Wales Argus: HAVING SAY: Youngsters join the protest against the proposed merger of Gaer junior and Gaer infants schools, Newport HAVING SAY: Youngsters join the protest against the proposed merger of Gaer junior and Gaer infants schools, Newport

PARENTS fighting the planned merger of two Newport schools have submitted a petition of more than 405 names to the council.

Residents are against proposals to merge Gaer Infants and Junior schools and convert the infants’ building into a school for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

While they recognise such a special school is needed, they fear their children will lose their large outdoor play area, and argue the junior school doesn’t have the space to cater for them and future nursery-age children in the area.

Their concerns have been echoed by local councillors Debbie Wilcox, Herbie Thomas and Mark Whitcutt, who have also submitted formal objections.

In a statement submitted to the council, they have asked the education department to consider a number of alternatives including the possibility of establishing amalgamated provision on a split site and creating an ASD unit in the Gaer annexe and/or a new-build.

They said: “The need, whatever the outcome, is to ensure that there is no detriment to the children of the Gaer infants and juniors in terms of the overall learning environment.”

Parent and vice chairwoman of governors, Debbie Haile, fears parents may start withdrawing their children from the school in September if the plans are passed.

She said: “That will be very disappointing because we love our school and we want to keep all our children.

“We are not trying to stop autistic children from having a school we are trying to say we don’t deserve to lose ours. It’s not about thinking we are better than any other school, it’s to do with what’s just and fair and this is not.”

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

This includes plans to merge Brynglas Primary with Crindau, leaving Brynglas available to become home to Newport’s newest Welsh-medium primary school, Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon, currently based at Maindee Primary.

Children from Brynglas’ ASD unit will join any new special school.

If agreed all pupils could start at the new sites in September 2013.

Comments (5)

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12:51pm Fri 25 Jan 13

debbiehaile says...

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

As I have repeatedly said, this proposal in NO WAY tackles falling numbers in the Gaer schools, because:

a) We have RISING numbers and within 5 years will be nearly full.

b) The 'new' Gaer school would have the same capacity as the old schools put together, so in fact amalgamating on a single-site does not tackle any current issues of surplus places in our schools, we would still have the same number of surplus places as we do now (and as I said, this will right itself in just 5 years).

This plan tackles RISING numbers in Bro Teyrnon (the reason all these changes are being forced through now), and rising numbers of ASD pupils needing space in a specialist school.

The only schools who have (possibly) falling numbers are Brynglas and Crindau, and given the mis-information being spread about out schools and the 'falling numbers' line, I would be surprised to find their numbers are rising too.

The Council need to come out and admit that all this is happening because of their failure to forward plan for Bro Teyrnon's future, in a West Newport location where it is needed, so they are moving other kids around from here to there to make room for Bro Teyrnon (nothing against Bro Teyrnon, it's not their fault this is happening).
"The plans are part of wider proposals to amalgamate four city schools to tackle falling pupil numbers." As I have repeatedly said, this proposal in NO WAY tackles falling numbers in the Gaer schools, because: a) We have RISING numbers and within 5 years will be nearly full. b) The 'new' Gaer school would have the same capacity as the old schools put together, so in fact amalgamating on a single-site does not tackle any current issues of surplus places in our schools, we would still have the same number of surplus places as we do now (and as I said, this will right itself in just 5 years). This plan tackles RISING numbers in Bro Teyrnon (the reason all these changes are being forced through now), and rising numbers of ASD pupils needing space in a specialist school. The only schools who have (possibly) falling numbers are Brynglas and Crindau, and given the mis-information being spread about out schools and the 'falling numbers' line, I would be surprised to find their numbers are rising too. The Council need to come out and admit that all this is happening because of their failure to forward plan for Bro Teyrnon's future, in a West Newport location where it is needed, so they are moving other kids around from here to there to make room for Bro Teyrnon (nothing against Bro Teyrnon, it's not their fault this is happening). debbiehaile
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Mwy Eira says...

I agree Debbie. This is all due to the council leaving it until crisis point (as they always do with welsh medium education provision in the city) to find a site fro Bro Teyrnon. Brynglas is not a suitable site at all for the school. As for the ease of access to everyone across the city that is a load of rubbish. They have obviously never tried to get through Malpas Road and the M4 at rush hour! It is easier for me to get to Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd next to Llanwern High than Brynglas yet Brynglas is considerably closer. If a new english medium site was needed in the Duffryn area for 100+ kids, they wouldn't be busing all the kids to Brynglas now would they. Everyone would would be in uproar. A new one would be built. They are quick enough to find sites and the money for gypies etc. We as parents need to stick together and make it clear that the proposals are not what any of us want.
I agree Debbie. This is all due to the council leaving it until crisis point (as they always do with welsh medium education provision in the city) to find a site fro Bro Teyrnon. Brynglas is not a suitable site at all for the school. As for the ease of access to everyone across the city that is a load of rubbish. They have obviously never tried to get through Malpas Road and the M4 at rush hour! It is easier for me to get to Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd next to Llanwern High than Brynglas yet Brynglas is considerably closer. If a new english medium site was needed in the Duffryn area for 100+ kids, they wouldn't be busing all the kids to Brynglas now would they. Everyone would would be in uproar. A new one would be built. They are quick enough to find sites and the money for gypies etc. We as parents need to stick together and make it clear that the proposals are not what any of us want. Mwy Eira
  • Score: 0

9:07pm Fri 25 Jan 13

debbiehaile says...

Absolutely, Mwy. We as Newport parents of English, Welsh and ASD education children need to demand what is best for ALL of our children. I stand with Bro Teyrnon in your desire for a genuinely West Newport location for your school (not the Gaer schools site though, obviously!), as I do with parents of ASD children to they should get the very best for their children too, whatever that looks like for them (a unit in another school like they currently have, or Brynglas school in its entirety for their use).

Come on, NCC! Come up with a good, fair, financially viable proposal that does not disadvantage some children for the benefit of others.
Absolutely, Mwy. We as Newport parents of English, Welsh and ASD education children need to demand what is best for ALL of our children. I stand with Bro Teyrnon in your desire for a genuinely West Newport location for your school (not the Gaer schools site though, obviously!), as I do with parents of ASD children to they should get the very best for their children too, whatever that looks like for them (a unit in another school like they currently have, or Brynglas school in its entirety for their use). Come on, NCC! Come up with a good, fair, financially viable proposal that does not disadvantage some children for the benefit of others. debbiehaile
  • Score: 0

11:05pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Mwy Eira says...

The parents of welsh medium schools get empty promises all the time and we have to fight for everything. Parents were told there would be a new build on the West side, most likely the Dyffryn area. We were promised a secondary school years a go and this has still failed to materialise and parents are still having to send their kids to Pontypool (some are leaving their homes at 7.30 and not home until 5pm) when all the other kids in Newport have had their tea and half way through their homework. This isn't equal access to education in my book.
The parents of welsh medium schools get empty promises all the time and we have to fight for everything. Parents were told there would be a new build on the West side, most likely the Dyffryn area. We were promised a secondary school years a go and this has still failed to materialise and parents are still having to send their kids to Pontypool (some are leaving their homes at 7.30 and not home until 5pm) when all the other kids in Newport have had their tea and half way through their homework. This isn't equal access to education in my book. Mwy Eira
  • Score: 0

11:13pm Fri 25 Jan 13

Mwy Eira says...

It is also quite obvious that NCC don't care where they put WM schools as long as there are spaces. All they are interested in is not being the only authority in Wales turning children away from welsh medium education. It is to save face and nothing at all to do with our children's welfare.

Sorry rant over. Wake up NCC!
It is also quite obvious that NCC don't care where they put WM schools as long as there are spaces. All they are interested in is not being the only authority in Wales turning children away from welsh medium education. It is to save face and nothing at all to do with our children's welfare. Sorry rant over. Wake up NCC! Mwy Eira
  • Score: 0

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