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Hundreds march through Mynydd Isa to save Argoed High School

HUNDREDS of parents, children and former pupils descended on a Flintshire village to fight against the closure of a high school.

A protest march began outside Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa at 2pm yesterday (Sunday), organised by campaign group Save Argoed.

The school is one of three facing the axe as part of Flintshire County Council’s Schools Modernisation Strategy, the details of which have prompted fury across the county.

Argoed is at risk of being amalgamated with the Elfed High School in Buckley, which is currently less than three quarters full.

Nearly 700 people have joined a Facebook campaign against the proposal.

A statement released by impassioned campaigners said: “We have been left with no alternatives after the shambles of a public consultation that took place on July 13. This has left many people unable to have their voices heard in a fair and proper way.

“Argoed High School is currently the fifth best school in Wales and is over-subscribed, with 585 pupils.

“The other high school in the consortium is Elfed High in Buckley, which is under-subscribed and has 621 pupils and 321 surplus places.”

The statement supports option four of the council’s plan to keep the school open without change.

“Closure of Argoed will have a massive adverse effect on our community,” it adds.

Dominic Cawdell, one of the campaign leaders said: “The Welsh Government and Flintshire County Council’s Schools Modernisation Strategy clearly states that they are committed to securing high quality learning outcomes for everybody.

“Argoed High School has demonstrated through external verification that it delivers an outstanding curriculum with high quality learner outcomes.

“The issue in this area is surplus places of more than 30% at Elfed High School. We stand by our vision of succeeding together for excellence in learning.”

Other schools at risk are Queensferry’s John Summers, which could be closed and its pupils moved to Connah’s Quay High School, and Holywell High, which could become part of a new ‘super school’ site along with several primary schools in the area.

The shake-up is being planned in a bid to cut the number of empty desks across the county.

Under Welsh Government guidelines, authorities must take action when a school has more than 25% surplus places.

A final decision on the schools’ futures is expected to be made by the council’s executive committee at the end of the year, but last week opposition councillors called for the process to be halted, claiming the consultation process had created ‘chaos and upset’.

A special council meeting is expected to be called to discuss the issue in the next 10 days.