Fury over school report blunder
OFFICIALS SORRY FOR ‘HONEST MISTAKE’
OFFICIALS have apologised for a council report blunder following accusations it “ran roughshod” over a consultation process on school closures.
Anglesey Council officials are currently weighing up options in the Seiriol area of the island, which could see up to two of its three primary schools shut and/or merge.
Among the options are to shut Ysgol Beaumaris, which faces a £1m repair bill, with the site being earmarked for a possible Extra Care housing scheme.
But local councillors wrote a stronglyworded letter to the chief executive after a report marked “official – sensitive”, set to be discussed by the council’s Corporate Scrutiny Committee last week, apparently revealed the preferred option to be shutting one primary school and moving its pupils to another, which will be refurbished.
At an estimated cost of £650,000, this corresponds with the cost of one option in the consultation document of closing Ysgol Beaumaris, with pupils sent to an extended and refurbished Ysgol Llangoed.
The other school included in the consultation is Ysgol Llandegfan.
But council officers apologised for “an hon- est mistake”, reiterating that no decision has been made.
By the following day, the report had been edited with all reference to the £650,000 figure taken out.
The apology was preceded by comments from Cllr Lewis Davies, who said at the scrutiny meeting: “To see a report like this come out of the blue, does nothing to improve the council’s perception in the area.
“This doesn’t silence some people’s fears that any decision is a done deal before the consultation process even starts.”
The letter sent to the council’s chief executive on behalf of Cllr Davies, as well as fellow members Carwyn Jones and Alun Roberts, noted: “This report has left us totally dumbfounded and disheartened as local elected councillors who work and try so hard over our corner of Anglesey.
“We now ask that the consultation process is stopped and that a public meeting is held in the Seiriol Ward by senior council officials to explain the situation.”
One local resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “We were told by council officers at the recent public meetings, that all options were left on the table and that nothing was a done deal. “But this makes a mockery of all of that. “The council is slamming the National Grid for not taking the public consultation process seriously, but what’s so different in this instance?”
In response, education portfolio holder, Cllr Meirion Jones, said: “The original report had figures that had been included by accident, and were removed once we were made aware of the error.
“I can only apologise to everyone on the committee and those living in the Seiriol ward, and emphasise that no decision has been made.”
Chief executive officer Dr Gwynne Jones, added: “The consultation is currently ongoing.
“The report refers to the Authority’s Strategic Outline Programme (SOP) for schools Band B which will run from 2019-2024.
“All local authorities in Wales have been requested to provide their proposals for the second round of school modernisation.
“But I reiterate that all options remain on the table, and we are in listening mode.”
Cllrs Carwyn Jones, Alun Roberts and Lewis Davies outside Ysgol Beaumaris, which could be facing closure