THE process which will decide the future of the Calon Cymru schools in Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells could shape the whole Powys school’s transformation programme.
At the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, June 22, councillors were told that the pre-consultation discussions called an “informal engagement” could include input from people and organisations across the whole of Radnorshire and Brecknockshire.
The vast sums of money involved in the project, as well as the change of language category for the former Builth Wells high school are creating the “complexity” with the proposal.
It is estimated that £48 million is needed for a new school building at Llandrindod Wells (£28m) and remodelling the Builth Wells campus (£18m) so that it can be turned into an all-through four to 18 years old, Welsh medium school,
Turning Builth into an all through school will have a knock-on effect on primary school provision in the area, as will changing its language category.
Head of transformation and communication, Emma Palmer said: “The engagement needs to be all encompassing, the wider primary schools will be included, whilst that might not have been explicit in the papers it’s certainly implicit in our thinking.
“It’s important for the wider community not to make assumptions that decisions have been made, it’s about the relationships, the dialogue and discussion to shape the future.
“This is extremely complex, and it will be impossible to please everybody, but we have to do what we believe is the right thing.”
Chairman of the learning and skills scrutiny committee, Cllr Pete Roberts told cabinet that he was “disappointed” that an official recommended way forward could not be tested out by the engagement exercise.
Cllr Roberts added: “The other thing I do hope you take on board is that the previous reorganisation and it’s failure is still subject to an internal audit investigation, to understand what went wrong.”
Children and culture portfolio holder Cllr Rachel Powell, said that discussion in the area on the options on the table had already produced “mixed report.”
She backed this “sensible approach.”
Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies: “This has potentially an impact on the whole of Radnorshire and Brecknockshire and potentially a small part of Montgomeryshire as well.
“It’s important to understand the community feelings on this.”
Welsh, communications and adult social care portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander believed that due to the deteriorating state of school buildings setting a timetable for the project is vital.
Cllr Alexander said: “My father used to say that a convoy travels at the speed of its slowest ship, there is work that urgently needs doing in this area.
“I’m all for an ambitious vision for Welsh in the south of the county and profound consultation, but we also need to get our skates on as there are issues there that urgently need to be solved.”
The cabinet agreed go ahead with “informal engagement” taking place in September and October.
By the end of 2021, a report on these discussions should appear before cabinet.
If approved the “formal” consultation process will then start on the reorganisation process.