Many residents of Pontardawe, Trebanos, Godre’rgraig and Alltwen and the surrounding areas are concerned about the proposal for a new super primary school in Pontardawe at the present site of Cwmtawe School.The plans as they stand will have a major impact on Pontardawe and its surrounding communities and I believe the report and consultation on the plans issued by NPT Council have raised a number of key questions and issues that haven’t as yet been addressed. We deserve answers and meaningful engagement, which have not been forthcoming so far.
- The consultation itself is a very unsatisfactory document. Why are options provided so restrictive, providing no opportunity to discuss the proposals in the context of each individual school? It seems that choice is either to accept the whole proposal or to reject it.
- Shouldn’t each school be dealt with separately - as the concerns and issues for each school are different? For example, pupils at Godre’r Graig school will be impacted by the fact that they will not be able to walk or cycle to school, and will not be able to access nursery provision without access to a car. This is also true of parents of nursery age pupils of Llangiwg school. Why did not one Labour councillor support Plaid Cymru local councillors’suggestion to ask NPT Council to research other possibilities, including the cost of refurbishing and developing the current schools and their sites?
- Why is there is no option to support any other site except the proposed one at Cwmtawe? The purpose of a public consultation should be to gather opinion from those who will be affected by the change and to encourage suggestions rather than shut debate down.
- Schools are at the heart of community life. Why is the question of wider impact on the community of each school not fully addressed in the consultation? This would include the impact on local businesses.
- Why doesn’t the report reflect the impact of the plans on the local authority’s own targets and stated aims as regards to the development of Welsh medium education in the Swansea Valley, namely the effect on pupil numbers at YGG Trebannws, YGG Pontardawe and the subsequent impact on YG Ystalyfera Bro Dur?
- Why has the Covid-19 crisis not informed this report in any way? We know that staying local and keeping in smaller groups in all kinds of contexts may be crucial for the foreseeable future, even beyond perhaps the proposed opening date for the new school.
I urge all residents to respond to this consultation. You can view the proposals and complete the consultation here. https://www.npt.gov.uk/1891
Get in touch with myself and our Plaid Cymru County Councillors in Pontardawe, Linet Purcell and Anthony Richards to air your views.
Labour politicians are currently in power at NPT Council, Senedd and Westminster levels. It is crucial that we put pressure on them to listen to the voices of our communities.