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Home / Latest News / Cardiff council criticised over failure to respond to consultation on closing school

Cardiff council criticised over failure to respond to consultation on closing school

Cardiff council has been criticised for not submitting a response to a consultation on the enforced closure of one of its secondary schools.

Questions have been raised as to why the authority chose not to make official representation, despite being asked to do so by the then-Education Minister Leighton Andrews.

In February, Rhondda AM Mr Andrews launched a consultation on the closure of Llanrumney High School a year ahead of schedule.

He said closing the school – adjudged by education watchdog Estyn as requiring “special measures” – would benefit pupils and that plans to keep Llanrumney High alive until August 2014 were too drawn out.

Cardiff council’s original plans would have seen all pupils at Llanrumney High move to nearby Rumney High School from September this year, with each school retaining its own identity.

But Mr Andrews chose to override the council’s proposals and confirmed in May his intention to fast-track Llanrumney’s closure using ministerial powers never used before in Wales.

A four-week consultation was held and attracted comment from around 200 people, although details obtained using the Freedom of Information Act reveal no representation from Cardiff council.

The authority’s failure to respond appears to fly in the face of Mr Andrews’ recommendation, made in a letter to council leader Heather Joyce on February 20.

Mr Andrews wrote: “As minister, I will take into account the authority’s response as part of my considerations. As part of this process, I expect the authority to make a full response in respect of the consultation.”

Owen Hathway, policy officer for NUT Wales, which opposed the closure, said: “It is concerning that Cardiff council, as a major stakeholder, appears not to have bothered to respond to this official consultation.

“While the council may have made representations in other forums, the then-Education Minister specifically wrote to the council leader stating his expectation that they reply formally.

“Given the strength of feeling amongst the community, no doubt parents, pupils and teachers in the authority will question why this did not take place.”

A spokeswoman for the council said the council’s role in the minister’s consultation was one of “co-operation”, adding: “The leader responded to the minister’s specific questions, detailing actions we had already taken to raise standards and create a new school as a matter of urgency not least because the school buildings’ poor state of repair.

“This includes significant investment in the short and long term, providing better facilities at the Rumney High premises while we progress plans for a new school.”

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