place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley
NEWS - ROSS-ON-WYE
News - The Weekly News Magazine for
No. 182 - Wednesday, 23rd January 2008
by Tina Jones
programme has been removed to conserve space on the web
server but can still be obtained from WNTV NEWS on DVD.
Let's Stick Together
the wake of Herefordshire Council's proposals to amalgamate
several schools in the county, ten of which are located
within the John Kyrle catchment area, many meetings and
discussions have been taking place. At Weston-Under-Penyard
School's meeting, over two hundred people packed into the
village hall to find out exactly what was happening and
to discuss possible courses of action. There were not only
parents of pupils in attendance, however. Many of the residents
of Weston went along to give their support, as the school
is an integral part of the community, as is the case with
all rural schools.
meeting was also attended by elected ward member, Councillor
Harry Bramer and Parliamentary candidates, Jesse Norman
and Sarah Carr. It was rather shocking to discover that
the latter three knew absolutely nothing of the proposals
until after the county's head teachers had been informed.
Mr. Bird's thought provoking address was brilliant. He explained
how closing the school would have a knock on effect on the
whole village. The meeting is featured in this week's edition
of WNTV News.
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Caple Primary School Rap for MP
News was invited along to Kings Caple Primary School on
Friday to talk with them about their feelings on the proposed
amalgamation of several primary schools in Herefordshire.
One of the pupils there is so concerned that she wrote a
long poem about it. Part of this poem has been transformed
into a rap, which the children were practising in readiness
for Monday, when MP Paul Keetch was due to visit.
a written statement, Chair of Governors at the school, Mr.
David Greenhough said, 'The governors of Kings Caple Primary
oppose the proposed changes countywide and those for Kings
Caple School. The closure of the village school would disrupt
the education of our children for the period leading up
to the closure and for several years after.
Caple Primary is an excellent school with a gold 'Healthy
Schools' award and a wonderful, inclusive atmosphere. The
closures seem ill considered and the council has proved
unable or unwilling to give us any detailed costings.'
can watch our visit to Kings Caple School in this week's
edition of WNTV
pupils of Kings Caple Primary getting ready to rap for their school.
Abbotts Concerned for the Children
Abbotts Primary School held a meeting on Monday, where Chair
of Governors Rick Stevenson addressed parent, urging them
to write to councillors, in particular Councillor Jenny
Hyde, Cabinet Member for Children' and Young People. Head
Teacher, Mrs. Lynn Potter then spoke to parents, asking
them to reassure their children. You can view the proceedings
in this week's edition of WNTV
for some better news . . . Council Recalls Review
leader of Herefordshire Council announced on Monday the
immediate recall of draft proposals for a review of schools
in response to government requirements to reduce surplus
move, which is as a result of discussions between councillors
and senior officers before the weekend, is designed to allow
more consultation with communities, more detailed research
and independent and external verification before proposals
are redrafted for final consideration in September.
Conservative group made it clear that it could not support
draft proposals that could see 37 of the county's schools
merged or closed,' said Councillor Roger Phillips. 'Instead,
elected members want more time to involve all schools and
their communities in detailed discussions. We also need
external, independent and objective advice and verified
evidence of the finances and the population projections,
as well as a greater understanding of the effect of any
mergers on rural communities and school journey times.'
council's cabinet recognizes that education officers face
a tough challenge in addressing the problem of falling numbers
of pupils in Herefordshire's schools. If we do not satisfy
Government that we are taking action, it has the power to
cut our funding in education. But we also recognize the
strong feelings in our community, and time has to be given
to enable those views to be taken fully into account when
we set policy for education.'
Chief Executive of the council, Chris Bull added, 'It is
important that we respond clearly to concerns raised by
a number of schools and their communities during this initial
part of the consultation. Local communities and elected
members have said they want more time and we want to ensure
that everyone has the greatest opportunity to put their
We have listened and we have taken action. We have suspended
the consultation process now. In the meantime we will proceed
with previously agreed plans to bring in external verification
of statistics, figures and finances, share those findings
with everyone, and listen further to school communities
before we redraft proposals for further consideration.'
like most authorities nation-wide, is required by government
to set out strategic plans for the future - taking into
account capacity, future pupil numbers, value for money,
quality of education and building programmes.
way government funding is calculated means that Herefordshire
remains the third worst funded county in England and the
council has pledged to continue lobbying central government
for fairer funding. A significant proportion of costs involved
in educating children are fixed, including a high proportion
of staffing costs, yet the funding provided by the government
is calculated by the number of pupils on roll. Even that
funding is under threat if the county does not take action
on falling rolls. If the council can ensure spare school
capacity doesn't exceed 10 per cent, there is the potential
for significant capital investment from the government.
Half of Herefordshire's schools could be refurbished and
five new schools could be built in addition to the proposed
Wyebridge Academy and the Minster College.
authorities Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire
and Powys are already going through the same process. Many
schools in Herefordshire have supported the schools review
and several head teachers have stated that firm action needs
to be taken to safeguard standards of education.
.'We have already said that the review is necessary and
it presents to Herefordshire the biggest challenge to education
standards for decade,' said Councillor Phillips. 'It is
therefore essential that we give a clear message to children,
parents and schools that we want to listen fully to what
they have to say and we want to take a measured, open and
considered approach in order to secure the best education
provision for the county for the future.'
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