THE amalgamation of two north county schools will be delayed in light of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The plan to combine Ysgol y Preseli and Ysgol y Frenni into one ‘new’ all-through three to 19 school was due to be implemented by September 2021 but concerns have been raised by the governing bodies, and others, about the short timescale.
Consideration of a later start date was requested and “in view of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the considerable work required to be undertaken by a temporary governing body of the new school, it is considered that this is reasonable,” cabinet member for education Cllr Guy Woodham said at Pembrokeshire County Council’s full council on December 10.
A date of September 2022 had been suggested but the council views April 2022 as more suitable, although it may be reviewed in future.
An amendment to formalise a September 2022 start was not passed by members.
Cllr John Davies, local member, said Ysgol y Preseli “performs above its own weight,” reminding council that the school was considered the “state school of the decade” in Wales by the Sunday Times.
He added that there was a “distant promise” of financial investment in the school buildings which was very much needed.
Ensuring consideration was given to families in rural poverty and the need for new uniforms was highlighted by Cllr Mike James.
A temporary governing body will now be established, following the full council approval, to run alongside the two substantive governing bodies until the new school and governors are in place.
Council approved a recommendation to discontinue Ysgol y Preseli and Ysgol y Frenni on April 24 2022, and to establish a new 3-19 school using both current school sites on April 25 2022.
The primary element (3-11) of the school will be designated as Welsh medium, and the secondary element (11-19) will be designated as bilingual.
Approval was also given to allow the director of education, in consultation with the cabinet member for education, to further modify the implementation date if required.
Cabinet member for education Cllr Guy Woodham