Home » ‘Can’t make promises’ about safeguarding jobs in Caerphilly schools shake-up
Caerphilly Education South Wales

‘Can’t make promises’ about safeguarding jobs in Caerphilly schools shake-up

Lewis School Pengam, October 2022 (Pic: Google)

EDUCATION bosses can’t “make promises” about safeguarding teachers’ jobs if a shake-up at two single-sex schools in Pengam goes ahead.

Caerphilly County Borough Council has launched a public consultation on proposals to close Lewis Girls’ School and make boys-only Lewis School Pengam co-ed.

Both headteachers appeared before the council’s education committee, on Tuesday June 4, to share their optimism for the move, telling members that pupils’ futures were “in good hands”.

But committee member Cllr Brenda Miles sought assurances that staff at the girls’ school, earmarked for closure, will not be treated differently from their counterparts at the boys’ school.

“Is it correct that all staff at Lewis Girls’ School will have to apply to keep their jobs?” she asked.

Keri Cole, the council’s chief education officer, said the shake-up is not a merger but is instead a proposal to shut down the girls’ school, with the expectation that most pupils would then choose to transfer over to the newly co-ed Lewis School Pengam.

The proposal is for that school site to stay open because it is in a better condition, the committee heard.

Ms Cole told the meeting the number of pupils at Lewis School Pengam “will double” and the council wants current staff at the girls’ school to have “good outcomes”.

There will also be teachers at the current boys’ school who will likely want to “take some of the opportunities” the reshuffle will present, she added.

When Cllr Miles pressed the issue, asking the council to confirm there would be “no difference in treatment” of staff at the two schools, Ms Cole said she expected the shake-up would mean the new co-ed school could “absorb as many staff as possible”.

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“But we can’t make promises… because we haven’t finished the consultation,” she added.

Cllr Miles told the committee she feared the two sets of staff would be treated differently, and questioned “why we are going down that path”.

“I think that’s disappointing,” she added.

Invited to talk about the proposals, Lewis Girls’ School headteacher Lynette Denton confirmed the plan is for a two-year transition period that will involve classes in Years 7-10 becoming co-ed immediately, while Year 11 would remain single-sex for the first year.

Lewis School Pengam headteacher Chris Parry said the two schools were aligned and “in good hands because we [understand] our schools so well”.

The public consultation on the proposals is available at https://conversation.caerphilly.gov.uk/lewis-girls-school-and-lewis-school-pengam and runs until Monday July 15.

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