The scrutiny committee also agreed that the schools reorganisation working group should meet as soon as possible to start on the work of considering a range of possible options to maintain and improve standard of education provision on all five of the secondary sites in Meirionnydd.
At present the percentage of empty places in Meirionnydd’s five secondary schools ranges from 37% to 55%. The latest available data forecasts that this trend will unfortunately continue. The scrutiny committee also supported further research work into population data, the potential impact on education standards and curriculum choice, and innovative teaching methodologies in rural areas.
Gwynedd Council’s Education Portfolio Leader, Councillor Liz Saville Roberts said:
“I strongly welcome the fact that the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee has agreed that the Council must act swiftly to address the possible impact of rapidly falling pupil numbers upon educational standards.
“As councillors we fully recognise the importance of Meirionnydd’s schools not only to pupils and parents, but to the wider rural communities which they serve. Committee members and myself believe that all five secondary schools should remain centres of education into the future.’
“The highly productive feedback from the scrutiny committee and the recent workshop session with Meirionnydd Councillors are a good start to this work. The challenge now is to identify creative, radical and sustainable answers which will meet the educational needs of Meirionnydd’s young people for the coming decades.”
Chair of the Council’s Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Dewi Owen added:
“It is a sad but inescapable fact that pupil numbers in Meirionnydd have and continue to decline sharply. As a committee we were overwhelmingly of the view that the Council must act decisively now to identify and implement well thought-through and creative proposals for secondary education in the area for the future.”