South West Wales

Pembrokeshire schools' closure: U-turn for Ysgol Dewi Sant, St David's

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Media captionAbout 300 protesters gathered outside the county hall meeting to make their views known

A controversial proposal to completely close a secondary school in St David's has been abandoned by councillors in Pembrokeshire.

The original plan recommended closing Ysgol Dewi Sant. The proposal is now to close just the sixth form.

About 300 protesters gathered at an extraordinary meeting at county hall where plans to close five schools in Pembrokeshire were discussed.

Other proposals were roughly unchanged.

Councillors were asked to push forward the plans, which would include three new schools being created.

The most controversial proposal for the future of secondary education in the county had been to close Ysgol Dewi Sant high school, forcing pupils to travel to a new school on the site of Ysgol Bro Gwaun in Fishguard.

But BBC Wales' Pembrokeshire Sarah Moore, who was at the meeting, said that had now been changed and the proposal was now to close just the sixth form.

Image caption Demonstrators are angry about school closures
Image caption Protesters chanted as councillors arrived at the meeting, while holding aloft banners

In Haverfordwest, the council plans to shut Sir Thomas Picton School and Tasker Milward and establish a new 11-16 English medium secondary school on the site of the current Sir Thomas Picton School.

Welsh language education

Post 16 provision will be provided in a new sixth form in a formal collaboration between the council and Pembrokeshire College.

There are also plans to expand Welsh language provision in the county by using the old Tasker Milward site to establish a new Welsh medium/bilingual school for children aged three-16, closing Ysgol Gymraeg Glan Cleddau.

A public consultation will be held if the proposals are agreed by councillors before the process can move further forward.

Analysis - Sarah Moore, BBC Wales' Pembrokeshire reporter

This is a review of secondary education.

Pembrokeshire currently has eight secondary schools in total, but there's a 20% surplus of places.

Also, only one of those eight schools is a Welsh medium secondary school, and that's in the north east of the county, in Crymych, so there is a desire to address a growing demand for Welsh medium in other parts of the county.

The council says it would like to improve educational standards, to tackle poor school buildings, and also to take advantage of the 21st Century Schools programme, which would see half the cost of any new school buildings paid for by the Welsh government.

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Media captionPublic meeting in St Davids on Monday: "I have never seen anger like it"

But campaigners in St David's had warned they would consider legal steps to safeguard their school.

Ahead of the meeting, Keeley Rose, a community councillor from St David's and a former pupil of the city's school Ysgol Dewi Sant, said she was "overwhelmed" by the number of people protesting outside county hall.

She told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme the plans would have a "detrimental affect" on St David's.

"I live there, it's just going to be horrendous. If they take education away there will be nothing else."

Thursday's protest came after around 200 people attended a meeting in St David's on Monday to air concerns.

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