North West Wales

Gwynedd school shake-up discussion starts

Ysgol y Berwyn Image copyright Google
Image caption Ysgol y Berwyn is one of Gwynedd's 14 secondary schools

A major shake-up of education in Gwynedd has been discussed by councillors regarding the management of its schools.

Plans include reducing its 14 high schools to six or seven, without closing any facilities.

A concern is that head teachers do not have enough time to provide leadership because they have to teach lessons.

One teaching union official said changes were necessary due to recruitment problems and cash cuts.

A Gwynedd council report suggests the majority of the county's 95 primary schools are retained with cooperatives set up to share management.

'Good leadership'

Neil Foden, National Union of Teachers chairman in Wales, said: "It's a very radical proposal. Gwynedd have to do something.

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Media captionNeil Foden: 'The current situation isn't viable'

"The current situation isn't viable, but I think there will be areas where they will have some difficulty in getting this through and there will be areas of opposition."

The report to Tuesday's cabinet committee tabled a range of ideas such as creating a new leadership structure in a reformed school system.

Councillors agreed to hold a consultation, including head teachers and governors, before any policies are drawn up by the authority.

Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd council's portfolio holder for education, said one idea was to have one head teacher responsible for three or four schools, rather than closing schools.

"Good leadership is the thing that improves schools the most," he said, adding that head teachers could not do that if they did not have enough time.

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