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Parents step up campaign against Argoed High School closure

HUNDREDS of furious parents concerned about a high school under threat of closure are demanding council chiefs remove it from plans to shake up secondary schools in the county.

Campaigners fighting an option to close Argoed High School in Mynydd Isa gathered at the school on Sunday and say despite inviting all 70 county councillors along, only three turned up: Northop Cllr Marion Bateman, Mold Cllr Haydn Bateman and Argoed ward Cllr Hilary McGuill.

Parent Stacey Kelly, who is one of the campaign leaders, said it was a “disappointing” response from the community leaders.

She told the Chronicle: “We wanted them to come along to hear our concerns, the facts and find out more about the school.

“We sent each councillor a letter which was put in their pigeon hole at County Hall and two emails telling them about the meeting.” Mrs Kelly said Flintshire County Council had to show it could improve the standard of education at a school in order to include it in its modernisation plans.

The Welsh Government has ‘banded’ high schools across the country and last week the Chronicle obtained provisional information to show Argoed had been placed in band one, alongside the best-performing schools in Wales.

Mrs Kelly added: “We will fight until our school is safe. There is no reason for it to be included in the consultation.”

“If the councillors won’t listen then we have no option but to go to the Welsh Government.”

In August campaigners delivered more than 40,000 letters to the homes of all 70 Flintshire councillors urging them to take Argoed out of the options under consideration.

They have now written to them again asking for this to be done immediately.

The controversial plans to deal with surplus places in the county’s high schools were put on hold at a special meeting in August.

Initial proposals included merging Argoed with Elfed High School in Buckley; creating a ‘super school’ in Holywell for primary and secondary pupils; and amalgamating John Summers High School in Queensferry with Connah’s Quay High School.

A new consultation process has since been approved by the council’s executive and is due to resume after a series or workshops have been held for councillors.

Ian Budd, director of lifelong learning, said: “The previous consultations related to options for discussion, not proposals. At the present time, the process has been halted in line with decisions made by elected members. The process and possible options for future consultations will be agreed by members prior to any further consultation.”