A COUNCILLOR witnessed teachers and pupils wearing hats and gloves in lessons to stay warm, and wheelie bins used to collect leaking water on a visit to one of Flintshire’s schools.
Connah’s Quay South Cllr Bill Crease (Ind) described his recent visit to St David’s High School in Saltney during a debate on Flintshire Council’s five-year plan for 2023-2028, at the authority’s corporate resources scrutiny committee.
One of the aspects of the plan is to determine a strategy for school modernisation in the Saltney area by March 2024.
Options for the future of secondary education in Saltney and Broughton have been up in the air for a number of years, an issue Cllr Crease feels has been overlooked since plans for a rebuild of St David’s fell through a few years ago.
He said: “It’s my understanding that St David’s was programmed for a rebuild a number of years ago but the site identified for the new build was declared unsuitable for development because of flood risk.
“Does this item now mean that when the proposed project fell a few years ago no further thought, planning or strategic consideration was given to the state of the learning environment learners and staff have to endure at St David’s?
“I was fortunate and very lucky recently to be invited in to visit the school with a number of governors and ward councillors.
“During that visit I saw learners and teachers wearing outdoor clothing, hats and gloves, in lessons to stay warm.
“I also saw wheelie bins used as buckets under leaks in the roof.”
Cllr Crease added: “On the opposite side of the coin, positively, I also saw learning underway in every class I entered. I also saw quite well-ordered corridors during the changeover.
“Do the learners, teachers and parents of Saltney not deserve better from the administration and why has it taken years to decide that plan one failed, so let’s sort plan two?”
Chief executive Neal Cockerton said he would feed those concerns back to the council’s education scrutiny committee but said the school would have its own budget to be able to sort out any necessary repairs.
“There have been a number of pieces of activity relating to Saltney’s high school as you’ll be aware Cllr Crease”, he said.
“And you’ll also be aware there are delegated budgets in schools that can be spent on buildings, themselves, to proactively fund repairs and not wait until there is a collective number of repairs to create one major repair that then falls to the local authority.
“So tactically that’s rather unfair on the council when they actually have their own budget to spend on repairs themselves.”
Mr Cockerton reaffirmed that he would pass on Cllr Crease’s feedback for the council’s education scrutiny committee to consider.