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Carmarthenshire Education West Wales

Modernising education in Carmarthenshire – Going through the motions or a new start?

AS CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council reviews its Modernisation Education Plan, Cymdeithas yr Iaith in the region has called on the council to use the opportunity to create a progressive plan that includes everyone and offers new solutions.

Before last year’s local authority elections the council decided to put on hold its plans to consult on the closure of Blaenau and Mynydd-y-garreg schools in order to review the Modernising Education Plan. The future of these schools, and several others in the county, is still not certain though.

According to the letter: “We now face a real choice. ‘Modernising’ education can continue to be a euphemism for closing as many small schools as possible now that an awkward election is out of the way. On the other hand, this could be a truly imaginative review of how modernisation could strengthen and re-invigorate communities rather than undermining them. If we truly wish to revive our Welsh-speaking rural and post-industrial communities, what better way than to have a community focus in each one based primarily on the citizens of tomorrow and run through the medium of Welsh? An innovative plan for modernisation could expand their influence rather than close them.”

The 2005 Plan listed dozens of schools in Carmarthenshire for closure as part of a strategy to attract central Government funding to build centralised new schools with modern facilities. The general perception is that small or rural schools do not receive investment.

However, Welsh Language and Education Minister Jeremy Miles confirmed recently that there is no presumption against investing in small schools.

In light of this Cymdeithas yr Iaith has called on the council to “take the Education Minister at his word and put in an application for funding for a new roof for Ysgol Mynydd-y-Garreg and similar projects. It is time to state that, after decades of neglect, rural communities also deserve their fair proportion of capital funding.”