Welsh Medium Secondary Education and the Groves School

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  • #152806
    Alunh
    Alunh
    Participant

    There were several news articles on Wrexham.Com today concerning the development of Welsh medium schools in the Wrexham area. One dealt with the ongoing problems of developing a new site in Borras for a new Welsh medium primary, a second on the matter of capacity in Gwersyllt (Ysgol Bro Alun) and a third concerning the development of a new 6th form unit in Morgan Llwyd. All of these suggest that there is a growth in demand for the Welsh medium in the borough.

    What I don’t really get is the side-lining of the Groves site in any of the discussions on this question. The Groves site would make a great place to develop an expanding Welsh language unit still governed by 11-18 school regulations (and therefore hitting the Covenant criteria) and this could dove-tail in with Yale’s offer, allowing economies to be made on Admin and teaching staff. At first glance a stand-alone Welsh medium Sixth form might not seem viable but that is where WCBC would have to get creative. There is a real need, for example, to provide St Josephs youngsters with a post 16 base, many of those who want to continue in a faith based environment having to go to Chester. There also seems to be a problem with Primary capacity (see the Borras problem) and the Groves might have been able to provide a home to Welsh medium learners from Year 10 onwards with the existing Morgan Llwyd site absorbing Years 6 (or similar). Any thoughts?

    #152816

    zinger
    Participant

    I’m with you alunh on this. No issues with parking as was already a school on the premises. It’s central too & could bring money into town. If the kids need new kit, why travel when you could just pop into town after school.

    #152914

    Rex Ham
    Participant

    Alunh your solution is so glaringly simple and right, it’s no surprise WCBC haven’t thought of it!!

    #152927

    Peterthewatcher
    Participant

    How much evidence is there that the demand from parents is for their children to attend a Welsh Medium School or are they assuming that a newly built school will give their child a better education. It certainly is the case for some parents and they should wake up to the fact that if they are unable to speak Welsh then their child is likely to achieve less in school — those readers and contributors to Wrexham.com who have or had children in school will understand the amount of support their children need with homework etc. Any parent who is unable to keep up with their child support will realise sending them to a Welsh School will be detrimental.

    What we need in Wrexham is a total boost to those schools that are failing ALL our children and young people.

    #152929

    Matt
    Participant

    I would suggest that you have the case in many of the deprived families in Wrexham – parents struggle to help with homework regardless of what language it is in.

    I know many people who are bilingual, were sent to the Welsh schools and have English parents and it never did them any harm.

    You are right though that whilst the Welsh school system is being fully supported and working towards fostering excellence – they really are failing to address the abysmal failings in the English speaking comprehensives.

    Alun has mentioned in a few threads on education that it really boils down to how the English language comp system is pretty outdated in Wales and the schooling system has been unable to flourish and ended up failing compared to in England where they have the Academy system.

    #152961
    Alunh
    Alunh
    Participant

    There is a need to have a really deep discussion at WCBC level about Secondary Education and Matt is correct…..it is a passion of mine.

    I quite understand the observation made by Peterthewatcher and an in-depth probe may discover that the demand in the borough for Welsh medium education might actually veil a hidden demand for a better education than currently on show in Rhosnesni or the rest. I don’t actually have the stats but the exit from the town of swathes of youngsters to Penley, Darlan and even Bishop Heber and Castell Alun does suggest something amiss.

    Of course, if there is no intention to have a deep look at this matter, no intention to work out why Wales (and Labour therein) fails to follow England (and Labour therein), we are, as they say, where we are. Given that we are. Does that mean even though the Maths dictate the use of the Groves, even though Borras hasn’t the infrastructure for more Primary, even though there is a shortage of Welsh medium capacity……..that we still won’t use the Groves. Essentially…..are we going to leave the place to rot even though we actually could use it?

    #152978

    Peterthewatcher
    Participant

    Alun you missed Dinas Bran and Oswestry which are both pulling in Wrexham pupils over the border. An interesting statistic would be how many school children who live in Wrexham County have now chosen to move out of the county or pay to go to a school that is not the normal catchment such as Penley.

    Also, Ysgol Ruabon will be closing it’s Sixth Form at the end of the week due to pupil numbers decreased to a level that they could no longer provide the desired number of courses to maintain their registration for year 12 and 13

    #152982

    zinger
    Participant

    I wonder what the teacher – pupil ratio & what the student numbers are for each school. I always felt that St Davids & Bryn Offa deteriorated when becoming ‘super’ schools.

    #152983
    Alunh
    Alunh
    Participant

    Interesting reference to Oswestry and Llangollen from Peterthewatcher. Amazing how much cost burden parents will shoulder if they think it worth while.

    Zinger’s point about Wrexham’s two “super-schools” is also worth pondering on. If you check out the pattern on the numbers front, there was a rapid decline on numbers in both schools and this may be now irreversible. Now you might think that this reflects on the standard of the school but most of us appreciate that the decline has got more to do with parental concerns about the behavioural patterns of a minority of the pupils in both schools, behaviour that has ebbed and flowed according to the ability of each school to keep trouble in check. What amplifies the behavioural patterns is the past willingness to have mixed ability classes across a range of subjects so that each “super-school” has a large number of classes occupied by able students and less able (side by side), motivated and less motivated (side by side). Whilst I am sure some bright spark on here can make a philosophical case for this state of affairs, any teacher working in this environment will tell you through their tears of despair how tough it is.

    Anyway, I digress. The escapees from the bog-standard comps want educating and apparently many of them now see the Welsh medium school as a viable alternative, the non-sexual equivalent of a friend with benefits. Can I make a plea Welsh Assembly/WCBC. Either sort out the post-11 education or…if neither of you have the balls or ability to do it…..at least get the kids into the Groves courtesy of the Welsh medium…..and kill two birds with one stone

    • This reply was modified 2 days, 11 hours ago by Alunh Alunh.
    #152985

    Council Watcher
    Participant

    Successful education is based in a partnership that requires engagement from pupils, parents, teachers and the Education Authority (or in the case of Academy Schools in England successful and reactive management) – a failing in any one element will result in failing standards.

    This may be a simplistic view but if any one element is not fully engaged the others will start to fail as the examples in Wrexham schools is showing time and time again.

    Council Members and Officers need to wake up to the fact that the exodus of pupils to schools that are not their ‘real’ catchment shows in stark reality that the failings are escalating at a rate that means within 2/3 years the will be looking to a closure programme of secondary schools due to huge numbers of empty spaces. Rhosnessini Super School was built for a five form entry (150 pupils) but now only has three (90) and is struggling on entry numbers for September- Clywedog is in a similar position.

    In total it appears across the whole of the county that there are now 9 whole classes of Year 7 (270 pupils) (first-year Secondary School in Wrexham) less than 5 years ago. Some may be due to a downturn generally of pupil numbers but the majority will be cross-border (except Maelor School, Penley) selection.

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