Cymer Afan Comprehensive School

Cymer Afan Comprehensive School was a comprehensive school, located in Cymmer, Neath Port Talbot, Wales. It offered mixed-sex education to around 200 pupils aged 11–16.[2] In November 2017, plans were announced to close the school. Following two failed court appeals, the school closed in July 2019.

Cymer Afan Comprehensive School
Cymer Afan Comprehensive School.jpg
Address
School Road

Cymmer
,
Port Talbot
,
SA13 3EL

Wales
Information
TypeComprehensive school
Opened1932[1]
Closed2019[1]
Local authorityNeath Port Talbot
Department for Education URN401778 Tables
Staff23 teaching, 39 support
GenderMixed
Age11 to 16
Enrolment229 (as of October 2018)
Capacity640
Websitehttps://cymer-afan-comprehensive-school.j2bloggy.com/

Planned closure and reactionsEdit

BackgroundEdit

In November 2017, plans were announced to close Cymer Afan on 31 August 2019. Consultation started on 11 December 2017, ending on 26 January 2018. The reasons for the planned closure included the school's £3m maintenance bill, the high amount of money spent on the school's pupils compared to other schools in the area, and the large gap between the school's capacity of 640 pupils and the 229 on roll.[3][4]

In June 2018, members of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council voted in support of the school's closure.[5]

Legal actionEdit

A community action group of parents was formed to oppose the plans, their legal representative calling the plan "a death sentence for the community". A judicial review was prepared for the group, focusing on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.[6] The BBC described the group's aims as being "landmark".[7]

In December 2018, solicitors representing the group served the council with notice of a judicial review application.[8] The High Court saw the case in March 2019, but dismissed it on the grounds that judicial review was not the appropriate way to enforce the Future Generations Act.[9] A second judge also dismissed the review.[1]

Other responses to the plansEdit

A council report showed 433 written objections from pupils, parents, staff and members of the community, including Stephen Kinnock, the MP for Aberavon. A petition with 2007 signatures was also received.[10]

The school's chair of governors opposed the planned closure, calling it a "devastating blow" to the area.[11]

The National Education Union criticised the plans, arguing that the council "failed to safeguard the jobs of staff" and "did not adequately consult" the local community. However, council leader Robert Jones stated that he was "100% confident" in their consultation process.[7]

AftermathEdit

Following the dismissal of the judicial reviews, the school closed in July 2019. A report indicated the presence of asbestos within the school, and plans were put before the council to demolish the building.[1]

A majority of students transferred to Ysgol Cwm Brombil, a new-build school in Margam.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "School to be demolished after disputed closure". BBC News. 27 July 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Port Talbot school fights against closure". ITV News. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  3. ^ Thomas, Geraint (3 November 2017). "Port Talbot comprehensive school set to close". walesonline. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Cabinet to Decide on Publishing a Proposal for Upper Afan Valley Secondary Education to Move to New-Build School". Business News Wales. 19 June 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  5. ^ Bradfield, Elizabeth (21 June 2018). "Cymer Afan Comprehensive School closure a 'betrayal' of community". walesonline. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  6. ^ "BBC Radio Wales - Eye on Wales, Save Our School". BBC. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Jenny (10 October 2018). "Villagers' 'landmark' bid to save school". BBC News. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  8. ^ Wightwick, Abbie (10 December 2018). "Fight to save closure-threatened school is heading for the courts". walesonline. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  9. ^ Martin, Paul (15 May 2019). "Law to protect future generations 'useless'". BBC News. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  10. ^ "FUTURE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION IN THE UPPER AFAN VALLEY - OBJECTION REPORT" (PDF). www.npt.gov.uk. Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. 6 September 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  11. ^ Bradfield, Elizabeth (7 June 2018). "Cymer Afan Comp closure would be 'devastating blow for community'". walesonline. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  12. ^ Bradfield, Elizabeth (2 August 2019). "Secondary school to be demolished to stop it being targeted by arsonists". walesonline. Retrieved 12 October 2019.