The future of Ysgol Ruabon and Penley Maelor sixth forms face a new threat following Labour Education Minister Leighton Andrews’s decision to close several sixth forms in the south Wales valleys, says Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru candidate for Clwyd South.
Wrexham County Borough Council decided to keep both Ruabon and Penley Maelor sixth forms last year following campaigning by pupils, parents, and some local councillors. But the ultimate decision rests with the Assembly Government’s Education Minister.
Mabon ap Gwynfor said that education should remain local where possible and called on the education minister should respect WCBC’s decision: “Wrexham Council has made a decision to maintain Ruabon and Penley Maelor sixth forms and I urge the education minister to respect that decision. However I’m concerned that Leighton Andrews has shown that his vision is to centralise further education in sixth form colleges.
“The decision to close seven sixth forms in Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent came as a huge shock following a vigorous and effective campaign by parents and pupils there. A Plaid Cymru Minister would respect the local democratic decision.
“Further Education colleges are not the answer for everyone. The more structured approach to education provided by sixth form, the continuity in education, with familiar teachers and friends, and the ability to stay within your community are all important factors in Post 16 education.
“We shouldn’t forget the importance that the sixth form plays in the wider school life, creating role models for younger children and bringing prestige to the school.
“It’s important for as many people as possible to start making representations to support our sixth forms. I urge people to send their comments to me on e-mail or through the post and we will make sure that they get passed onto the Assembly Government”.
People wishing to send their comments in support of Ruabon and Penley Maelor sixth forms can do so by sending them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or in a letter to Save Our Sixth Forms c/o The Old Coach House, Berwyn, Llangollen, LL20 8AL. diwedd / ends