APPENDIX 1

CONSULTEE

COMMENTS

RESPONSE

No. 1

1.1 Sadness at school closing. Would like decision reconsidered and for her son to finish primary education at a happy well run school.

1.2 Closure should take place at the end of the Summer Term 2007 and not April. This would be better for pupils to start a new school at the start of a new school year and not halfway through a school year.

1.1 The consultees views and concerns are noted. The Authority is confident that provision at the alternative school will be of a high standard and that pupils will receive enhanced educational, and social opportunities.

1.2 The Authority's MEP programme did not include provision for a further review of primary education involving the closure of New Inn CP School. The Authority sought to bring forward the proposal in response to the difficulties the school was facing in relation to setting a budget and in securing the services of a Headteacher as well as the fall in pupil numbers. There is a legal requirement that schools secure the services of a suitably qualified Headteacher. Temporary arrangements are acceptable and indeed the Authority had assisted in securing the services of a suitably qualified Headteacher as a temporary measure. This arrangement had been in place for over a year and as indicated in the report the school were unable to secure a suitable long term arrangement. Wherever possible the Authority seeks to introduce changes at the beginning of a school year, for the reasons raised by the consultee. In view of the difficulties the school was facing, then the April date was chosen to help resolve the difficulties as quickly as possible. It remains the position that there is a need to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. However the comments made by a number of consultees regarding the date of closure are recognised.Therefore the proposal is now to amend the date of closure from the end of the Spring Term 2007 to the end of the Summer Term 2007.

No. 2

2.1 Disappointed at Proposal.

2.2 Their son gets the attention he needs at New Inn and they do not wish for their son to attend a larger school as it will affect his ability to learn. Councils put money before the needs of children.

2.3 If proposals go ahead then the parents will move to an area nearer to a school with a special unit. This has not been necessary previously given that New Inn is a small school with excellent teachers giving the child confidence in social situations.

2.4 Closure will affect the community not just the children.

2.1 Comments are noted.

2.2 Please see previous response 1.1 above. Additionally it should be noted that whilst resources are an issue the Authority does not consider that the current arrangements at New Inn are ones which are sustainable in the long term.

2.3 As part of the Inclusion Policy the Authority is confident that suitable arrangements to cater for the pupils educational and social development could be made for the pupil at the alternative school designated by the Authority.

2.4 The Authority appreciates the significance of the issue raised by the consultee. The Authority does however have a legal duty to the pupils to ensure that there is suitable educational provision.. Should the proposal be approved then the Authority has a policy in relation to the use of former educational buildings . This would allow the community to submit a case to the Council for retention or use of the building for community activities and, if approved specialist officers would seek to work with the community to seek grant funding to progress developments.

No. 3

3.1 The Council's MEP Strategy indicated, only some four years ago, that it intended to invest in New Inn School. That stance should not be affected by short term events.

3.2 The Council has not offered practical support to the school. It is happy to sit back and allow problems to develop. This pattern has emerged in both Mynyddcerrig and New Inn. No attempt has been made to assist Governors. The sustainability of small schools calls for an area structure to encourage joint working.

3.3 It is said in the local community that the Governors believe that there were new possibilities with regard to future provision at the school but the Council refused to accept any positive views. The Council sees communities as enemies to be defeated whilst it should show a willingness to work with parents who have an active interest in the education of children and the future of communities.

3.4 The Council has ignored, in a most cynical way, the Assembly Governments Guidelines with regard to the options for alternative to closing a school such as clustering and federation with Cae'r Felin nor look at the community use for the building.

3.5 The Council has not undertaken, as indicated in Assembly Guidelines, an impact study as to the effect of the closure of the school will have on the local community.

3.6 The Assembly Guidelines call for consideration to be given to the effect of the closure of the school will have on the Welsh Language.

3.7 The proposed closure of the school is contrary to other policies of the Council to safeguard Welsh Communities.

3.8 The Council is launching a campaign to persuade parents to walk to school. Children will not be able to walk the 1 ½ miles from Gwyddgrug to Pencader.

3.9 The Council is interested in exploiting the weakness of the school not being prepared to listen to the community and work to strengthen the school.

3.10 The Council is limiting consultation to the statutory minimum.

3.11 The impression is of a Council which is going through the consultation process when it has to but is not prepared to listen and does not fulfil its legal responsibilities.

3.12 The Council is using deceit in an attempt to discourage rather than support parents and Governors. The most despicable was the call to close the school in Easter 2007 rather than at the end of the Summer Term. This was done in the hope that parents would move their children this September.

3.1 Please see previous comments in response 1.2 above.

3.2 No evidence is provided to support this generalised assumption which the Council refutes. Whilst indeed legislation does give the responsibility for the running of schools to Governing Bodies the Authority's Officers worked with the Governors of New Inn and initiated discussions with the Headteacher and Governors of a neighbouring school to secure the services of a Headteacher. This arrangement continued for over a year and gave the Governing Body time to make alternative "permanent" arrangements for the provision of joint arrangements.

3.3 No specific information is provided to support this allegation however please see responses 2.4 and 3.2 as evidence of the Authority's willingness to work with the school and community.

3.4 Please see responses 3.2 and 2.4 above as evidence of the assistance provided by the Authority and its willingness to consider community use of the building Officers explained the possible alternative options to closure in several meetings with the Governing Body and with reference to the existing arrangements in two other areas of the County. This led to the temporary arrangement referred to in 1.2. Additionally the consultation document has been distributed to the Governing Bodies of New Inn, Llanllwni VCP and Ysgol Cae'r Felin neither of which has replied indicating federation as an option.

3.5 The Authority has distributed copies of its consultation document to various organisations involved with the local community. Their responses will contribute to assessing the impact the proposal will have on the community. As indicated previously there is a legal requirement for the Council to ensure that there is suitable educational provision for pupils and on a Governing Body to secure the services of a suitably qualified person to undertake the duties of a Headteacher.

3.6 Both New Inn School and the alternative school proposed by the Authority are Category "A" schools within the Authority's Language Policy. This will help ensure equality of provision with regard to the aims of the policy.

3.7 The Council is of the view that the proposal will represent an opportunity for the strengthening educational and social opportunities for pupils, maintaining opportunities for pupils to experience Welsh Language provision as well as offering an opportunity for the community to bid for the retention of the building as a community asset. The proposal therefore seeks to promote the broad spectrum of the Council's policies.

3.8 The Safe Routes to Schools initiative does not seek to put parents or pupils in danger when taking pupils to and from school. Equally the Authority's Home to School Transport Policy takes into account the safety of the route children have to walk to school. The two policies are seen as being complementary rather than contrary.

3.9 Please see previous responses 3.2 and 2.4 above.

3.10 The consultation process follows the prescribed guidelines. The Authority is also mindful of the effect and stress that a prolonged period of indecision can have on pupils, parents, staff and the community.

3.11 The allegations are refuted and indeed when previous consultations took place at New Inn School the Council noted the views it received as part of the consultation process. At that time members resolved not to continue with the proposal outlined. As indicated in response 1.2 above the circumstances have now changed and there is an urgent need for consultation on future provision for primary pupils in the area. No evidence is provided with regard to a failure to abide by the legal process

3.12 The allegation is refuted and reference is made to previous responses 1.2 with regard to the timing of the proposal.

No. 4

4.1 Three generations of the family had received their education at the school and had the highest regard and respect for the very high standards of education the school has provided.

4.2 The provision at New Inn school has been such that it has attracted pupils from the Pencader area and when we compare performance New Inn school has performed brilliantly.

4.3 The Council should listen to the views of the parents and pupils who live in the area. The standard of education and care that pupils receive at New Inn cannot, in their opinion, cannot be bettered.

4.4 The school is central to the life of the village and its closure would be a blow to this very Welsh village.

4.5 Whilst there are benefits to the Council there are not for the children or the community.

4.1 The Authority recognises and values the contribution that the school and staff have made to the area and community. Circumstances have changed with regard to the decline in pupil numbers, budgetary difficulties and the failure to secure the services of a Headteacher. It is not envisaged that the current arrangements are sustainable.

    The Authority is confident that provision at the alternative school will be of a high standard and that pupils will receive enhanced educational, and social opportunities.

4.2 The provision at New Inn and at the alternative school has already been commented upon, see response 4.1above. Whilst parental preference has been demonstrated by some parents and pupils from other schools have attended New Inn the information provided in the consultation document indicates that a high number of pupils residing within the catchment area of New Inn school attend Cae'r Felin school. The Authority is confident that provision at the alternative school will be of a high standard.

4.3 Please see response 4.1 above.

4.4 Please see response 3.7 above.

4.5 Please see response 1.2 and 3.7 above.

No. 5

5.1 Dissatisfaction at the fact that the Consultation Document does not give parents a choice of schools to which they could send their children. Some parents live closer to Llanllwni VCP rather than Ysgol Cae'r Felin, which is the alternate school proposed by the Authority, and could send their pupils to that school. During previous consultations the Authority had provided options for considering alternative schools. The focus on one school sends the wrong message to parents regarding parental choice and makes choices more difficult for parents with regard to transport secondary school transfer etc. There is a need to be sensitive to the needs of the whole area geographically.

5.2 Although Officers have provided a valid reason as to the choice of the proposed date of closure being March 2007 it is unreasonable to expect some pupils to transfer schools twice in one year ( April to another primary school and September to a Secondary School) There is a need to consider the feelings of parents and pupils and a change of date to September 2006 would be preferable.

5.3 On reflection may be not enough consideration was given to the possibility of clustering.

5.1 The Consultation document sought to provide consultees with an opportunity to consider and receive information regarding a specific proposal which was considered to be the most suitable for the area. It also invited consultees an opportunity to comment on and input into the proposal- including putting forward alternative proposals. Amongst the factors which led to the Authority putting forward Cae'r Felin as the alternative school were:-

    (i) Educational Provision and Facilities

    (ii) Geographical proximity for the majority of pupils

    (iii) Capacity . Cae'r Felin school could accommodate the pupils Projections for Llanllwni indicate that as at January 2006 it had surplus capacity for 8 pupils only.

    (iv) The Authority was mindful of the concern communities express over the affect the loss of the school could have on diluting the sense of community in an area. By transferring all pupils to one school it is intended to help retain a sense of "community" in the area.

    (v) Cae'r Felin and New Inn pupils transfer to Emlyn Secondary and Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi at the secondary stage. Again by transferring to Cae'r Felin that historic traditional link between the pupils , their cohort,and the New Inn area is retained. Llanllwni VCP pupils transfer to Lampeter Secondary School and Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi. The County's Transport Policy states that pupils qualify for assistance when they are of compulsory school age, if residing over 2/3 mile threshold, to the nearest or LEA designated area school

5.2 Please see response 1.2 above.

5.3 Please see response 3.4 above.

No. 6

6.1 The closure of the school will be a big blow for the community and community spirit as it is the only public building.

6.2 The school has provided pupils with a high standard of education as well as teaching them morals.

6.3 Disappointment at the proposed closing date - it does not take into account the feelings of the pupils.

6.4 Consultation document was biased towards Cae'r Felin school.

6.1 Please see response 3.7 above.

6.2 Please see response 4.1 above.

6.3 Please see response 1.2 above.

6.4 Please see response 5.1 above.

.No. 7

7.1 The school has high standards - having achieved the "Marc Safon" the children are happy with a nice family atmosphere. They have no worries regarding their welfare or education whilst at the school. The lack of playing fields and inside toilets is not important.

7.2 Closing the school will kill the community.

7.3 The Authority did not support the "teacher in charge" during the absence of the former Headteacher and is again allowed to run the school for a term without a Headship when it suits the Education Department.

7.4 The proposed date of Easter for the introduction of the revision is not fair to children especially those in year 6. The start of an academic year would be better

7.1 Please see response 4.1 above.

7.2 Please see response 3.7 above.

7.3 Please see response 3.2 above.

7.4 Please see response 1.2 above.