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Objection Report

Godre’rgraig Primary School, Graig Road Site

  • Godrergraig school was closed because of a supposed risk from the quarry above. Hogwash, I do not belive that contrived story for one minute. NPTCBC has looked for justification to close it and this was a convenient excuse. The residents have had no formal communication from NPTCBC and all are still resident in homes that must be at the same level of risk as Godrergraig School. Either NPTCBC is playing up the actual situation or is being negligent towards its statutory duty of care towards the residents.
  • In my view, the consultation report did not fully capture nor address the concerns of the Godre’rgraig school community. This makes the whole process of a consultation invalid, and suggests a predetermined decision being made despite substantial community objection against the proposal.
  • The council have attempted to close the school on two other occasions, when my children were pupils there, both times it was fiercely opposed, and I feel to close it in this way is a very underhanded attempt to "get their own way"
  • In respect to the reasons for the school closure, I do not accept that the houses directly next to Godrergraig school are safe whilst the school isn’t.   The money spent on the “temporary” buildings for Godrergraig school would have been better spent in carrying out the recommendations in the report that Rob Jones used to force the closure of the school!
  • The whole situation regarding the closure of the school should be investigated, particularly as the councillor who was responsible for its closure is already being investigated. Due to the situation of Godrergraig Primary I feel it should be looked at as an individual case

Officer Response

Objectors have made reference to Godre’rgraig Primary School’s temporary relocation from Graig Road, Godre’rgraig to land adjacent to Cwmtawe Community School. Objections have been received which suggest that the relocation of the school to the temporary site was a deliberate act to facilitate permanent closure.

It is important to note that this proposal is not about whether Godre’rgraig Primary should remain in its temporary location, or whether remedial works should be undertaken to allow for a return, but instead is about a proposal to establish a new 3-11 English –medium primary school in new build premises to replace three existing primary schools, of which Godre’rgraig Primary is one.

Whether the location of the school remained at Graig Road, Godre’rgraig or in its temporary location at Parc Ynysderw the current consultation would still be undertaken in the same way and the same principles for embarking on consultation would still apply.

The consultation document clearly outlines the reasons for the proposal; the expected benefits that a new school, along with the creation of a health and wellbeing community campus, can deliver are as relevant to pupils of Godre’rgraig as for pupils of Alltwen and Llangiwg. A feasibility study to investigate design options and produce budget estimates for works associated with the remediation at Godre’rgraig has been commissioned and is available to read on the Councils website following the link www.npt.gov.uk/godrergraig. The outcomes of this report will be the subject of a separate Council meeting.  However, even if mitigation work is possible and staff and pupils are able to safely return to the Graig Road site, the case remains that substantial work to address both backlog maintenance issues and remodelling to deliver 21st century school provision for the future will still be required. A new purpose built school with state of the art facilities will provide better opportunities for teaching and learning than the Graig Road site, even if remodelling of the buildings is affordable and achievable within the confines of the site.

As regards the comment about investigation of a councillor, an independent investigation has taken place and the subsequent report has been considered by Council’s Governance and Audit Committee.  This arose from the fact that on 5th March 2021, a recording was placed on social media by a local campaign group opposed to the reorganisation proposal. The recording is an extract of a meeting of the Pontardawe’ Labour Group. The former Leader of Council (Cllr Rob Jones), discussed a number of matters surrounding school reorganisation and his comments include “If I had my way, all schools would be 3-16”.

Objections have been received which suggest that this means that he prejudged the proposal for the 3-11 primary school at Pontardawe.  The investigation findings were that there were governance processes in place for making decisions about school reorganisation and that they were followed by the Council. However, as a precautionary measure, Cllr Jones has taken no further part in decision making in relation to the proposal. 

It has been stated that it is felt that the views of Godre’rgraig School community have not been fully captured or addressed. Officers do not believe that this is the case – all comments received during consultation were addressed in the consultation report, and it is the case that there were many common themes across all of the schools involved in the proposal. Additionally Godre’rgraig Primary’s specific concerns were addressed in the report on pages 42 -43. Further opportunities to raise concerns have been made through the statutory objection period, and again it is the case that most of these are common to all of the schools.

It remains the case that the proposal which has been consulted upon is in the opinion of officers considered to be the best option for all of the schools, including for pupils currently attending Godre’rgraig Primary.