A CONSULTATION on proposals to close two Torfaen secondary schools is set to open so people can have their say on the plans.
The proposal sets out plans to close Llantarnam School and Fairwater High School and a £6 million investment from Torfaen’s 21st Century Schools programme to refurbish the current Fairwater site, which could re-open in September 2015.
There would also be a review of the Fairwater, Llantarnam and Croesyceiliog catchment areas.
Torfaen council said closing Fairwater and Llantarnam Schools and creating a single secondary school should help tackle the issue of surplus places for both schools, in line with the Welsh Government target of no more than 15 per cent surplus places.
The capacity of Fairwater School is 1,312 and it currently has 717 pupils, which is predicted to drop to 548 in September 2015. For Llantarnam School, the capacity is 1,475, with 1,003 pupils currently attending. Figures are forecast to fall to 770 by 2015. Based on current projections, a new school opening in September 2015 would have 1,318 pupils.
Fairwater School is proposed as the most suitable site because of its more central location.
It is assumed at this time the current sixth form provision will remain, although there are on-going discussions with Coleg Gwent and Welsh Government on the future of post-16 education in Torfaen.
The executive member for children and young people, Councillor Brian Mawby, said: “This is a hugely significant proposal which will fundamentally re-shape the future of secondary education in Torfaen.
“It provides us with the opportunity to bring together the best of both the existing schools, which will help drive up the standards of education for the benefit of pupils.”
Parents are arguing Llantarnam School is a better option, as pupils would need to be housed in temporary classrooms at the Fairwater site while the refurbishment is carried out between 2015 and 2017.
The consultation will run between February 17 and March 31.
lThe consultation on the proposed closure of Pontnewynydd School has now been extended for a further 42 days and updated documentation will be made available.
Around 50 parents attended a meeting at the school in December to oppose the closure.
The proposal sets out that children will move to Penygarn School following the closure in September 2015.
Concerns are that there is no safe route to school to Penygarn School and major traffic problems in the area.
Parents are also worried the learning plaza and TV studio will be lost and no assurances can be given that such technology would be provided at Penygarn School.