A documentary by Lleucu Meinir showing how the closure of a Welsh medium village school affects pupils, teachers and the community. Lleucu filmed during the last week of Ysgol Mynyddcerrig, Carmarthenshire in July 2007 /////////////////////////////// CYMRAEG: Ffilm ddogfen gan Lleucu Meinir yn dangos effaith cau ysgol bentrefol ar y disgyblion, yr athrawon a'r gymuned. Bu Lleucu yn ffilmio yn ystod wythnos olaf Ysgol Gynradd Mynyddcerrig, Sir Gaerfyrddin ym mis Gorffennaf 2007.
Here we go again. Carmarthenshire Council's education spokesman, Ieuan Jones, is again complaining in your letters column that everyone is "misinformed" - if not plain stupid because they won't agree with the Independents that it's a brilliant idea to close down all our village schools.
He says that other councils are also facing up to the challenges and names Gwynedd.
Gwynedd Council has just revised its consultation timetable in order to give people a fair chance to put forward their views. It has also postponed for a year a major restructuring as the Assembly Government is working on exciting new proposals as to how schools can co-operate with each other as an alternative to closures.
Any chance that the Independent councillors in Carmarthenshire will start listening to people and to positive alternatives in the same way? No chance at all.
If re-elected, they are determined to press ahead with the tired old policy of closing schools and centralising everything. It's easier for bureaucrats to control fewer, larger schools - never mind about the education and the local communities.
Obviously funds can't come from elsewhere to save the schools, because so much money is needed for the wages of the top officers.
Councillor Jones rightly says that Carmarthenshire Council has won awards from bureaucrats across Wales. They admire the breathtaking arrogance of Carmarthenshire Council in steamrollering their own policies through without the inconvenience of anything but the absolute statutory minimum of consultation - and they still expect to get re-elected.
Councillor Jones and his gang of Independents at County Hall are surely running the risk in this election that voters are not quite as "misinformed" as he thinks they are.
Parents unaware of school reprieve (Llanelli Star)
Parents in Carway claim they have not been told about a council U-turn to keep their school open. Carmarthenshire Council will be reassessing the primary school's future under its modernising education plan.
It means the school will stay open for at least another three years.
"IT'S shameful that there are people out there who are so stupid, 'twp' and who talk nonsense," were the words used by Councillor Ieuan Jones, of Llandeilo, the executive board member for education at a recent county council meeting.
Councillor Jones was referring to those who have showed their opposition and protested against Carmarthenshire Council's policy regarding the closure of rural schools.
At the same meeting, Councillor Meryl Gravell, leader of the council, referring to Plaid councillors, said: "Some members exhibit extreme weakness and are prepared to listen to people protesting against school closures in the public gallery and out there in the community."
This goes to the heart of how Carmarthenshire has been run over the last four years. Democracy stands for nothing. It is a "we know best" attitude every time, with little respect for different points of view.
Since Councillor Jones is responsible for education, he should surely encourage respect for different viewpoints.
It is a sad day if education does not teach our children to see all sides of an argument, and tolerance and respect to those who do not agree with their views.
Time and time again, the Independent and Labour groups who run the council have failed to listen to the electorate.
Decisions are made by a small number of individuals and high-ranking officers of departments.
Plaid will work to ensure Carmarthenshire Council is more open and answerable to the public. A Plaid-run council will operate on a non-partisan basis, building robust scrutiny mechanisms, so that decision-making power is not merely concentrated in the hands of the 10 executive board members.
Peter Hughes Griffiths
Leader of Plaid councillors on Carmarthenshire Council
SMALL rural schools in Wales are “less protected” from closure than they are in England, a campaign group warned yesterday.
The National Association for Small Schools (Nass) says between 100 and 300 schools across the UK could shut their doors because councils are under pressure to not only cut the number of spare places but also not to have too many schools.
Meryl Gravell, Carmarthenshire council leader, stated (Journal, January 9) that people are failing to realise that closing schools and care homes, and centralising everything within our county will "provide a better public service".
What Meryl Gravell and the council are failing to realise is that receiving education and care within a community offers the confidence and the support for children to thrive educationally and for the elderly to feel secure and happy.
When are council leaders going to start listening to what the people of Carmarthenshire are asking for? Everyone accepts the current situation is not viable and there is a need for reorganising. But this should be done in a creative manner, with schools and possibly even care homes working together to provide a better service; rather than offering closure to everything small and forcing our children and the elderly to travel for miles to receive this so-called better service.
I urge everyone who opposes this ridiculous centralisation to use their vote effectively in the local council elections in May, to ensure that this tired regime does not get another chance to destroy our communities.
Dyfed organiser - Cymdeithas yr Iaith
The front line of the battle to save village schools (Western Mail)
Despite a major campaign to support the village schools of Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council has already closed one and is poised to take a decision on three others, writes Cymdeithas yr Iaith's Education spokesperson Ffred Ffransis
PARENTS, pupils, governors and teachers demonstrated outside Mynyddcerrig School in Carmarthenshire on Saturday, in protest against plans for its closure by the local authority.
Campaigners said they were angry there had not been more consultations.
Ffred Ffrancis, spokesman for the Welsh Language Society, which backed the protest, said, "As the council refuse to give the people of Carmarthenshire the right to decide about the direction of the general education strategy, our only option is to call on everyone to support the fight of each school which is being threatened contrary to the wishes of the local community. "
What the Council did NOT tell you about their education plans…
Many will have seen Carmarthenshire County Council’s recent twelve page, full-colour newspaper insert (costing un-known thousands of pounds) giving their one-sided view of their ten year Modernising Education Provision scheme (MEP).
Press here (PDF) to download the Primary Schools forum document, written in response, that was published in the Carmarthen Journal today.
Spokesman for Welsh pressure group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Aled Davies said that he believed the process was biased against village schools.
"There is no way that consultation about the future of individual schools can be open and fair as they are relying on the proceeds from selling off schools in order to finance a significant part of the so-called modernisation plans," he added.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith has asked the Carmarthenshire County Council's marketing and so-called 'democratic services' departments what was the cost of the 16-page Carmarthenshire News supplement which was placed in the Journal on August 31 to justify the Modernising Educational Provision Strategy.
A Tory split has appeared in Llanelli over plans to revamp Carmarthenshire schools. Conservative town councillor John Jenkins has defended Carmarthenshire Council's £110 million Modernising Education Provision (MEP) plan after the party's Assembly leader Nick Bourne appeared to throw Tory weight against the plan.
Welsh language lobby group Cymdeithas Yr Iaith has suspended its protest against the proposed £110m county-wide education revamp. The move comes after the group met with the council's recently appointed director of education Vernon Morgan.
TRAP villagers want to keep their school's premises within the community, if the proposed closure goes ahead. Councillors at Carmarthenshire Council met yesterday (Tuesday) and decided to start consultation for the closure of Trap and Cwmgwili schools.
Hundreds of parents across Carmarthenshire are fighting to save their village schools. JONATHAN ISAACS looks at the battle and why the council is adamant that its plans will mean a better education for all the county's pupils.
School plan means 'Pain & Torture' (thisissouthwales.co.uk)
A Gwendraeth Valley county councillor has accused education chiefs of not understanding the agony their £110m schools modernisation plan is causing rural communities. The plans will bring new community schools as dozens of small rural schools are shut down.
Parents march for schools' future (thisissouthwales.co.uk)
A Protest march against the council's £110m education plan has been organised for Easter weekend. The Friday, March 25, sponsored walk to the top of Mynyddcerrig is designed to raise money for the Primary Schools Forum (PSF) fighting fund against the council's £110m education plan.
Over 30 schools were represented at the meeting in Carmel today. Cris Tomos summarised their efforts in ensuring the fight for the survival of Ysgol Hermon. Despite the eventual outcome, a lot of inspiration can be gained by the efforts of the community.
Who will lose out as schools get big revamp? (thisissouthwales.co.uk)
The principal argument put forward by those favouring the "rationalisation" (ie closure) of rural schools purports to be an economic one. The cost per head of educating pupils in these schools is greater than that in larger schools. Therefore, the smaller schools must be closed to make way for larger ones.
Council's anti Welsh policies stop Welsh speakers from applying for the post of Director of Education
Cymdeithas yr Iaith have responded to Coun Martin Morris's (Deputy Leader, Carmarthenshire County Council in a Press Release Today) attack on Welsh language groups who are jeopardising the Council's plans to get the best person for the job of implementing their 'ambitious plans for education' by saying that it is the Council's own anti-Welsh policies which make Welsh-speakers think twice before applying for the post of Director of Education.
County Council caught out misleading Assembly Minister.
Carmarthenshire County Council has been caught out attempting to mislead the Assembly Education Minister over it’s controversial strategy to close dozens of Welsh-medium village primary schools. In a personally-signed letter to Cymdeithas yr Iaith officials, Assembly Minister Jane Davidson says that there is no cause for concern as the County Council are in the process of consulting and inviting opinions about their Modernising Educational Provision Strategy.
Council will consult on Schools (South Wales Evening Post)
Council education chiefs have again spoken out to reassure parents that no final decision has yet been made on its controversial £110m modernisation plan. At last Friday's education scrutiny committee meeting, officers promised to carry out extensive consultation on any proposals involving re-organisation.
Protestors have sent letters to education committee members demanding a six month debate on schools. Campaigners claim the committee meeting this morning (Thursday) was the last chance for the public to have their say on the issue.
Parent-Governors who are members of the Education Scrutiny Committee of Carmarthenshire County Council have ensured that the committee will discuss and express an opinion in tomorrow’s meeting (10a.m. Thursday 16/12) about the controversial strategy which could lead to the closure of up to 40 Welsh-medium village schools in the County.
Plaid AM tells Carmarthenshire Council to think again (Plaid Cymru Press Release)
Over 200 people have demonstrated on the steps of County Hall in Carmarthen over a £110m education modernisation plan that could see up to 32 schools close. At the meeting Helen Mary Jones AM pledged Plaid Cymru's support to those communities calling for proper consultation before decisions are taken.
Private Corporation in Takeover-bid for Carmarthenshire County Council
Cymdeithas yr Iaith has made a last-minute appeal over the weekend to Carmarthenshire councillors not to allow the County Council to be run like a privale corporation but to protect it’s integrity as a democratic people’s forum. It is rumoured that the leaders and officials of the council intend even to prevent any vote taking place next Wednesday on the controversial Education Modernisation Strategy which will lead to the closure of dozens of Welsh-medium village schools in the county.
In a message to the Save Our Schools Rally to be held on Wednesday 8th December, Ray Gravell praises small schools for the wholesome education children receive in these schools and emphasises their central role in sustaining our communities. Grav begs Carmarthenshire county councillors to hold back before ripping the heart out of so many communities.
A Crisis has descended on education in South West Wales, created mainly by the falling birth rate. JONATHAN ISAACS looks at the impact it is having on the area's schools and how the councils plan to sort it out.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith released information today which completely refutes the assertion made by Meryl Gravell, leader of Carmarthenshire Council, that a political consensus exists concerning the controversial strategy to try to close all schools in the county with less than 50 children. In response to Cymdeithas yr Iaith, both Plaid Cymru and the Conservative Party say that they oppose the strategy.
Calls on Labour Councillors to consult with the people of Carmarthenshire (Press Release)
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg has asked Labour Councillors at Carmarthenshire County Council not to give their support to the controversial new strategy, which could sound the death knell for over 30 Welsh medium village schools, until there has been 6 months of extensive consultation throughout the county on the principles of this strategy.