SCC Letter Re Review of Secondary Education

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Mrs Kate Evan-Hughes

Director for Children and Schools

County Hall

Haverfordwest

SA61 1TP

9th May 2015

Dear Kate,

Review of Secondary Education Provision

Solva Community Council writes in support of the letter sent to you from Solva CP School Governors.

We recognise that this is a consultation on the provision of secondary education in the County and it came as a complete surprise to see that Solva CP was being included as part of one of the proposals being considered by the County Council.

We have real concerns about the effect on the school of the proposed changes in Management structure and the loss of autonomy and community focus that might result. The ‘split site’ 3-18 school does not seem to us to deliver any savings in surplus places and we fear that the proposal will lead, inevitably, to the closure of at least one of the schools involved.

We are further concerned about the status of the ‘split site’ school. If the school is to take on VA status, how possible would it be for a single school to retain CP status? We are concerned that it may not be possible to consult on this in a realistic manner since the option to stay out might not, in effect, be a real choice.

Members are deeply worried that the strategic direction of the Review may lead to the closure of small rural schools such as Ysgol Solfach. Our school is a much valued part of our community. It is full and likely to be oversubscribed. Unfortunately it has recently received a poor Estyn report, but the staff and governors are working hard with parents and pupils to remedy the situation and we have every confidence that the issues causing concern are already being addressed.

In addition to the vital instrumental work of the classroom, delivering fully rounded education involves the affective aspects of education – focussing on the individual child as a member of the community. Among the areas praised by Estyn in their recent report was the strength of the pastoral work in the school, the caring ethos, and the varied links between the school and the local community. We do not want our youngsters to lose that sense of community. Educating children away from their community will slowly but surely undermine it. In essence, the life of the village would start to decay.

Members therefore call upon the Director for Children and Schools to recognise that small schools such as Ysgol Solfach are assets, not liabilities and are a key factor in sustaining rural life. We would welcome a clear commitment to the future of Ysgol

Solfach and an assurance that the Authority will continue to provide the necessary resources both to maintain its present state and to enable it to develop successfully to meet the future needs of the children of Solva and the surrounding area.

Yours sincerely,

Solva Community Council