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Victory for campaigners as Flintshire schools merger scrapped

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after education chiefs revealed plans to amalgamate a Welsh language primary school with an English one have been scrapped.

Cllr Nigel Steele-Mortimer, Flintshire County Council’s executive member for education, told members of pressure group SYFFLAG (Sir y Fflint dros Addysg Gymrae) that a plan to merge Welsh Ysgol Terrig in Treuddyn with its English counterpart, Parc y Llan, has been abandoned.

He also said Holywell primary Ysgol Gwenffrwd is ‘unlikely’ to be included in proposals for a new super-school to replace Holywell High School and several primaries.

The U-turn follows a huge protest against a shake-up of the county’s education system, which could also see two other secondary schools closed. But members of SYFFLAG say they fear all Welsh-medium schools in Flintshire are still at risk.

Two meetings have been held to discuss the potential threats, at which Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Huws-Griffith said Flintshire needs to do ‘much more’ to promote Welsh language education.

North Wales AM and former Wrexham council leader Aled Roberts, who also attended the meetings at Ysgol Gwenffrwd, Holywell, and Ysgol Maes Garmon in Mold, said ‘substantial growth’ in Welsh-medium education had taken place during his time at the helm.

In Wrexham 10% of primary school children go to Welsh language schools, compared to 6% in Flintshire. The Welsh Government’s target is for 20% to be in Welsh medium education by 2015.

SYFFLAG chairman Nick Thomas said: “It’s heartening so many people are concerned about these proposals and we are particularly pleased so many councillors attended the meetings.

“We feel that at last we are getting the message through to the council that not only must it abandon these plans, but it must start planning to increase Welsh medium education after years of neglect. Parents want it and the Government requires it.”

The council’s secondary school modernisation plan, which also affects John Summers High School in Queensferry and Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa, is currently on hold.