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Residents to have their say on proposals to replace Oakdale and Pontllanfraith schools

Published in News at 09:31, Friday January 17th, 2014.


A public consultation is underway on plans by Caerphilly County Borough Council to replace Oakdale and Pontllanfraith comprehensive schools with a new building.

The first phase of the council’s ‘Secondary Rationalisation Programme’ aims to reduce the number of spare school places in the county borough from from 22.1% to 16.9%.

Under the proposals, a new school will replace Oakdale and Pontllanfraith so that Islwyn West will then be served by Blackwood and the new school. The council has secured funding of £20 million to deliver the project which will also include a review of catchment areas.

Drop in sessions for the public to attend will be held at:

  • Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School on January 22 between 3.30pm to 6.30pm.
  • Oakdale Comprehensive School on January 23 between 3.30pm to 6.30pm.
  • Blackwood Comprehensive School on January 30 between 3.30pm to 6.30pm.

Have your say below

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  • Kevin Smith

    The consolidation of schools in Wales is an increasing (and alarming) trend in that the rationale for such consolidations is primarily motivated by economic concerns rather than what is best for pupils, their families and the quality of education offered in schools. Until education (not just schooling) is regarded as a necessary resource that can alleviate social and economic distress, "means-ends" approaches that currently organise how schooling is managed will continue to damage the quality of education in schools in Wales, which in turn, will only exacerbate feelings of social malaise and disillusionment.

  • Jan

    Will these pupils be all taken in buses to this new location or will it be get there under your own steam?

    Is caerphilly closing any of these to then slap a welsh school in one of them like they did with rhiw-syr- daffyd old site?

  • Matt

    It wouldn't surprise me Jan, the Welsh Assembly and authorities all over Wales seem set on slowly reopening old schools as a Welsh language school. We do not need more of them. What type of parent wants their children to be educated using a minority language anyway? A language that will get them no where in life and a language that is not internationally respected. It is a huge shame that the same resources cannot be spent on better preparing pupils in Wales for the international world of tomorrow. Learning Welsh prepares you only for life in a little Welsh village drinking tea and eating cakes. It does not prepare you for trade and good relations in the wider world. English is usually the lingua franca, yes, but that does not mean no effort should be made to learn the languages spoken in the economic powerhouses i.e. Mandarin.

    Kevin too raises some excellent points. Children are best taught when there is a personal touch. Being able to knock on your headteacher's door any time during for a chat and being able to ask a subject teach about a lesson without telling what form you are in or who you are is the best learning environment for a child. We must not allow children to be educated in these super school where teachers will not remember names due to the large number of pupils and the headteacher has Royal-like visits where pupils are lucky if they have a short glance of the person in charge. Having one million different form classes for the same year and having science department bigger than NASA is ridiculous. Schools need to be smaller and more exclusive, not larger and catering for the lowest common denominator. Children need to feel valued and appreciated and not made to feel like 'another kid' who is referred to as 'you' instead of by name.

    Forget the cost associated with having more, smaller schools. Cut the welfare state to fund it. With better, more personal education, people will leave school better qualified and with more self drive. They will not have to consign themselves to life on the state. Remember the speech by Tony Blair "education, education and education"? It is an enormous shame that he did not follow through on his words. Then again, very few on the Loony-Left do.

  • Clive

    Sadly, a minority who have gained 'power' seem hell bent on promoting the hobby language. They are not aware of the cost, both financial for us tax payers and for the career prospects of today's youth.

    The Welsh language is quaint. Please start looking towards the horizon and you will see that the real world is out there. Let us teach real subjects so as to give our youngsters real competitive edge as previously mentioned many times before by so many contributors.

    So let us create real schools as suggested by Matt.

    If YOU, one of those who back wasting money on Welsh medium schools, are reading this, would you care to prove that these schools actually benefit anything/anyone other than the politically motivated?

  • Robin

    The growth in the number of Welsh-medium schools in Caerphilly is a response to parental demand. This is not surprising given that the best performing secondary school in the county is a Welsh-medium school.

    The notion that English and Welsh bilingualism is in some way parochial and limiting is so ill-informed. In my experience, it broadens perspectives and makes you far more receptive to and appreciative of other cultures.

  • Clive

    Ah, Robin, perhaps the staff at the Welsh-medium schools, allied with parents who are interested in their child's education makes the difference. The teaching of the hobby language is parochial as those who learn it are no better off career wise when they go into the real world.

  • Clive

    Robin, I also very much doubt your belief that parental demand is the reasoning behind the politically motivated building of these schools. Can you prove it please?

  • MATH85

    People obviously know nothing. I teach Welsh, Geography and History in a school of around 1700 and there is nothing less personal there than a school of 600. If this is to have around the same number of pupils the teachers are more than likely to be designated to upper or lower school. How do you think that teachers could possibly fit in any more classes when they have no free lessons in the first place. FYI there are many many jobs that require Welsh Language. The Welsh Language has only been scaled down due to the repressive English attitudes and thank goodness for the Welsh Language Act. Isn’t it funny that most Welsh Schools are struggling with overcrowding, they achieving better English and Welsh Literacy results with many more literate pupils entering Cwm Rhymni and Gwynllyw than its English counterparts. Just look at the estyn reports. The council are just trying to save money in the long like you want them too so instead of attacking welsh medium education (which is irrelevant in this situation anyway) and the welfare state (which you may need one day), why not moan about why all those millions that all councils are being forced to spend bringing council houses up to ‘WHQ standards’, some of which (ie Springfield) were only refurbed about 15 years ago. I wish i could do my house that often. As long as they are insulated properly, have double glazing and meet regulations then we shouldnt be spending that much on ‘cosmetic’ rendering and pretty curtalage only to be neglected for 40 odd years again?
    Anyway it wont be any worse than when I was at Oakdale almost in every lesson there would supply teachers all the time by year 11, without exageration I only had a Geography Teacher and Biology teacher EVERY other was a supply thats including my form tutor and head of year. I had to resit 4 GCSE’s because of that wretched place getting, A, B, B compared to F, D, E. That school ruined the lives of about 4 year groups between 1998 -2002 and the sooner its shut down and forgotton about the better. It should of been done a long time ago. There is no evidence that these schools dont work (Welsh or schools with 1500 pupils plus). Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Cwn Rhymni, Brynmawr Foundation and Eastern High School , Cardiff are all doing much better that their English medium of smaller counterparts. So unless you have some evidence to back up theses ridiculous claims I suggest you dont slander people, their customs or preference in education type or social / economic situations they find themselves in. You never know what could be around the corner for yourself. If you dont like the idea of it then dont read about it and dont send send your kids there. Simple as really…