There are 7 things the community plan must address:
- drop out rates
- surplus places
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In education Wales performs badly compared to the rest of the UK and Pembrokeshire performs badly in Wales. So standards and outcomes for learners have to improve. This is a real opportunity for our plan to create the right foundation for that to happen.
Like all rural areas with small schools it’s hard to give pupils a broad range of A-levels to choose from. It’s hard to have specialist teachers in a wide range of subjects, and hard to get enough students in each subject to make the courses financially viable. YDS can’t afford to run the range of courses it does now, so our plan needs to offer a creative solution to expand choice for our children.
3. Drop outs
In Pembrokeshire as a whole, about a quarter of school students starting year 12 drop out by year 13. It’s similar across Wales. The Council wants to concentrate A-level and vocational courses at Pembrokeshire College so students could shift between the two rather than drop out completely. Will that work? If not, what’s the alternative?
4. Surplus places
Every school building has a running and maintenance cost and a maximum number of students it can physically house. If it’s not full then there are surplus places, but building costs stay the same, so surplus places waste money. Welsh Government is pushing hard for Councils to cut surplus places. Our plan needs to deal with this.
The plan we come up with now has to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in population, falling school budgets, and changing business and employment needs, and it must be part of an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future for rural Pembrokeshire.
Every child in Pembrokeshire must have access to a broad range of high quality courses. We can’t have a system that works for kids in St Davids, but not Fishguard, or that works for Haverfordwest, but not the rural communities. Our plan must be fair to all.
PCC has about £130M from local and government 21st Century funding to spend on transforming our schools for the future. None of it is currently allocated to the St Davids Peninsular. We can argue strongly that some of that money should come here, if we come up with a truly transformative plan.