Wednesday, 19 March 2008


This piece is taken from the Socialist Party Teachers blog see -

Iain Dalton & Ross Saunders (Socialist Party Wales)
Aschool closure is coming to every area of Wales. From Carmarthen to Cardiff, Powys to Gwynedd, the threats of cuts, closures and teacher redundancies are growing.
The root of the problem lies with the Welsh Assembly funding formula which funds each council according to the number of students going to each school, rather than their needs.
Now that student numbers are falling, a new formula is needed to allow smaller class sizes. We say abolish the formula not the schools! But parents, school students, teachers, school workers and local communities are uniting to oppose the threatened cutbacks.
All the parties, Liberal, Labour, Plaid and Tory, accept the argument that schools should close because student numbers have fallen. They claim money is being "wasted on empty places". But falling student numbers are a great opportunity to improve education without spending extra money, through reduced pupil/teacher ratios.
On 13th December, over 600 parents, children and other protesters marched through Caernarfon to protest against the closure of 29 schools and the federalising (one school over several sites) of many others. The march saw banners from many different schools and placards condemning the Plaid Cymru led Gwynedd Council proposing these cuts.
In Cardiff, the Liberal Council's attempt to close 22 schools was defeated last year by a barrage of meetings and demos. But now they have returned with a new closures plan.
School students would be expected to travel across Cardiff, increasing congestion, pollution and carbon emissions, to bigger schools with bigger classes. A united campaign, similar to the one which defeated these plans in 2006, is starting to develop. It could, if focussed on exerting maximum pressure on councillors, repeat the victory of two years ago. If local councillors only oppose closures in their own wards while backing all the others, then all the closures will go ahead. A joined-up Save Our Schools Campaign pledging to fight all attacks on Cardiff schools could extend pressure to all 72 councillors.
What use is the One Wales coalition between Labour and Plaid? Any hope that Plaid entering the government would move things substantially to the left is being snuffed out by these closures. And so much for the Liberal campaign promise in the Assembly election for smaller class sizes!
If councillors refuse to act to save schools, then parents and campaigners are preparing to stand against them in the May elections.

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