Wales

Anglesey schools shake-up will aim to cut empty places

A child writing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption One secondary school on Anglesey was less than half full, a report to councillors said

Secondary schools on Anglesey might have to merge with primaries or lose their sixth forms to reduce empty places, council officers have advised.

About a quarter of school places are unfilled, while Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones in Amlwch is less than half full.

Even the arrival of workers to build a nuclear power station at Wylfa would only bring 200 more pupils, they said.

Anglesey council's ruling executive has given the go-ahead to a review aimed at saving £5m over three years.

Council officers previously warned that up to 17 small primary schools might have to close to help balance the council's books.

A report to councillors said secondary schools on Anglesey had room for 5,171 pupils, but due to falling numbers of school age children locally they only had 3,717 enrolled, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones posed particular concern, with room for 971 pupils but only 479 pupils on the register - representing 49% of its capacity.

Arwyn Williams, the council's head of learning, said possible solutions might include federalisation, multi-site schools, and more "super schools" combining secondary and primary education.

If sixth forms closed, courses could be offered at Coleg Menai, a further education college in Bangor.

The arrival of workers and their families for the building of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa - due to start by 2020 subject to approval - would make little difference to the number of school places needed, the report added.

Anglesey's deputy leader Ieuan Williams backed the need for reorganisation. He pointed to the austerity agenda and highlighted the need to make cuts.

Councillor Robin Williams added: "Head teachers are pushing us to modernise the education system with some haste, and it's important that we listen to those on the front line."

Public consultation over options for the way ahead will take place over the next 12 months.

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