9:45am Monday 7th April 2014
MORE THAN 4,000 signatures have been collected to save Llantarnam School from closure.
Torfaen council proposes to close Llantarnam School and Fairwater School and invest £6 million from Torfaen’s 21st Century Schools programme to refurbish the current Fairwater site.
The Fairwater site would re-open in September 2015 and house all of the pupils following the merger.
But Llantarnam School’s parents and governors argue that their school is the better option for the refurbishment and launched a petition against the closure.
Parents and members of The Education Action Group collected 3,410 signatures, while pupils collected 690 signatures, against the closure.
Llantarnam School governor, Sue Tamplin, said: “We are really happy with the public response to our petition and the strength of support is shown by the amount of signatures collected.
“We just want what’s best for the children and we believe that Llantarnam School can be a grade A school when refurbished and for less money than the Fairwater site.”
A crowd of around 750 people also attended a meeting at Llantarnam School on March 18 to discuss the proposals.
Ms Tamplin explained that parents are concerned that children will be in demountable classrooms on the Fairwater site for up to three years.
But on the Llantarnam site these would not be required as it has a capacity of 1,475, which is higher than the projected figures of the new school of 1,318 pupils in 2015.
Fairwater’s capacity is 1,312.
She said parents were worried over children learning on a building site at Fairwater School.
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.
Fairwater School is proposed as the most suitable site because of its more central location and the proposals would save the council £698,000 a year.
However, the Fairwater School’s head teacher, Helen Coulson, agrees with the proposal, and believes that the school can accommodate all the pupils, with demountable classrooms a last resort.
She said: “It’s an emotive proposal, especially for the parents of pupils at Llantarnam, but something needs to be done to tackle surplus places.”
The Fairwater refurbishment will be carried out between 2015 and 2017.
The petition will be handed over to Torfaen Council on tomorrow.
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