The Tri Level Consultation Document is available from Carmarthenshire County Council Offices.
Ysgol Pantycelyn Action Group has the following concerns :
The Tri Level document talks about Rural Deprivation (with regard to education). This is not the case here. We understood this merger was to enhance the education, not combat deprivation. Thus the merger addresses a problem that does not exist.
Pantycelyn is already a very good and successful 2B school, and this could be a good foundation on which to build a wider curriculum, in co-operation with other schools, including possibly Llandovery College. We were told the options were drawn up with the support of students and parents, but this is clearly not the case in Llandovery. Figures given to justify the reform with regard to Welsh language continuum after 14 years of age, show that Pantycelyn is the main contributor to the Dynevor figures that show the highest level of Welsh speakers both before and after the general drop in Welsh lesson uptake at fourteen years of age. This high percentage is also included in the Carmarthenshire figures as a whole, which makes the comparison even less valid.
There has been no research into why students tend to drop out of Welsh lessons at fourteen, which means that no one knows if the proposed remedies will have effect and this may be an experiment the town cannot recover from.
When local residents tried to raise their concerns about the detrimental impact on the town at the public meetings, their concerns were dismissed, in what can only be described as an overbearing manner. This was despite the fact that the loss of the secondary school in Llandovery was listed in the tri-level document under the heading of Disadvantages/Challenges, and yet, was not discussed within the document at all.
There has been no analysis of the impact on students and parents on the difficulties of Pantycelyn students taking part in after school activities, especially in the light of the lack of public transport, carbon emissions, or the inevitably rising costs of petrol.
No research has been carried out on the logistics of transportation of many pupils between the various education centres. Also the potential for traffic jams in the narrow streets of Llandeilo, or Llandovery, or where in Llandovery this twice daily gathering of buses and parents vehicles will take place.
There are no projections for costs of the various options given, including transport costs, so not comparisons can be made.
We understand the financial deficit that Pantycelyn faces has come about partly because of the restructuring of the budget with regard to allocations per pupil. We also understand that there are strategies in place which will improve the deficit over the next three years with improved management of the budget.
There is concern that this project appears to be more focussed on putting forward those options that will allow the Education Department of Carmarthenshire County Council to obtain the Welsh Assembly Capital Transformation Grant, and this is why the project is being pushed through so quickly without properly researching the alternative options that might retain Pantycelyn, and why we are being pressured to accept it.
This is evident in the fact that the study process does not seem to have provided sensible options, as it appears solely driven by the education department’s desire to obtain Assembly transformation grant finance, at the expense of simpler and more cost-effective alternatives that would achieve the desired quality of education for all pupils
There are no projections for costs of the various options given, including transport costs; therefore no comparisons can be made between costs of alternative means of delivery the educational reforms you envisage.
Why was option 4 included, when one of the main justifications we have repeatedly been given for the school merger was to make financial savings. Why is it that any money allocated to a new build school, could not be used to support and develop the curriculum at Pantycelyn and Tre Gyb separately?
Why does Pantycelyn have to be absorbed by Tre Gyb to bring the latter to the level of a 2B school?
Why should pupils of Pantycelyn travel up to forty minutes each day, so that pupils in Llanelli do not feel they are being treated unfairly, in that Pantycelyn pupils receive a higher educational allowance per head than they do? Why is a greater transport allowance per reaching reforms? (A lack of ‘joined up thinking is one of the main complaints voiced here.)head more acceptable, even with the difficulties it imposes on those pupils? The aim surely, should be that all pupils are given equal education, even if it costs more per pupil in one area.
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