Which Schools Will be Next to Close in Neath Port Talbot?
With a council election next year, it seems unlikely that the next Primary school mergers will be announced beforehand. The last round of school closures were revealed shortly after the last election and we have had clues to expect similar this time round.
The Education Department for NPT Council have recently stated “The school building stock is ageing and the Council is facing increasing backlog maintenance and repair costs. As money and opportunity becomes available the Council will seek to replace existing schools with new builds and state of the art teaching and learning facilities.”
Maintenance Repair Costs
So where will these schools close?
We don’t know is the short answer. However, we have managed to reveal the maintenance and repair costs for 16 English medium Primary Schools in the borough. We have attained these via a freedom of information request and it should give us some idea.
The Maintenance bill has been used as a major factor for the councils controversial closure of Llangiwg, Alltwen and Godre’r’graig Primary Schools. We can compare their backlog with others within the borough.
|School||# Pupils*||Maintenance Bill||Cost per pupil|
Most Likely Mergers
Looking at the data and with previous council plans. There are 5 obvious mergers.
A Baglan merger would save nearly £4 million and would be well within the 770 pupils proposed in the Swansea Valley.
Crymlyn school could be added into a Bae – Baglan merger although it could equally be added to a Coedffrank school. This would save over £2 million and would save more money per pupil than the one proposed in the Swansea Valley.
A Tywyn and Cwmafan merger would save over £3.5 million and again would save more per pupil than current plans. The 3 miles between both schools would be very manageable for the council. The 864 pupils would make it the largest Primary School in the borough but less than 100 pupils more than in Pontardawe.
A Crynallt/Melin merger would save over £2.5 million and would be less than the 770 proposed in Pontardawe.
The Twyn/Cwmafan meger would free-up a Central-Eastern Port Talbot merger. Both schools are fairly well maintained in comparison. However the council are adamant that newer buildings offer a greater quality of education. Both Central and Eastern have had poor recent inspections. The council could save £1.6 million and attempt to improve standards.
|Merger||# of pupils||Combined Bill||Bill per Pupil|
|Baglan / Bae||575||£3,800,000||£6,609|
|Coedffrank – Crymlyn||487||£2,015,000||£4,138|
|Twywyn / Cwmafan||864||£3,500,000||£4,051|
|Crynallt / Melin||726||£2,520,000||£3,471.07|
|Eastern / Central||681||£1,600,000||£2,349|
The other schools
We have seen in the Swansea Valley that the council can act quickly when they find their next merger. These assessments are the English medium Primary schools available to us over the last 10 years. However Llangiwg, Alltwen and Godre’r’graig were all assessed soon after the last council election and a school merger quickly followed.
Blaendulais and Maesmarchog Primary School could merge with Creunant to make a Dulais Valley Primary School for example. Tonnau and Cilfrew could merge with Catwg too.
It is difficult to see where Tairgwaith fits in with the councils plans of large new build Primary Schools unless it joins the new Swansea Valley school. There appears ample room for the Amman valley school to be added at a later date. With a deficit of over £4,000 per pupil, it seems likely that something will need to be done with Tairgwaith. Its location means that any other Neath Port Talbot merger seems impossible. From what councillors have said, it seems any like-for-like replacement would not be viable.
There are many who object to school mergers. Save Our Schools Wales (facebook.com) are campaigning to save Community Schools in Neath Port Talbot. A spokesperson said “Taking away community schools and forcing 3 year olds to catch a bus on their first day of school is not progress. Neath Port Talbot have some brilliant schools and teachers within their community and the council are destroying them to save money.”
“What we have seen in the Swansea Valley is an underhand and dishonest attempt to force closures against peoples wishes. 3 good schools. Every Swansea valley councillor and Town council objected. There were over 600 letters objecting, just 20 supporting the proposal. The figures still don’t add up, a 770 size school for 3 schools with 524 kids. There are endless lies the council are using to force this through and an unknown fourth school too.”
“If you want to save community schools please support our facebook page and get in touch” You can like and view the facebook page here
You can see the full reports of these schools here:-
Baglan Primary School Condition Assessment Report
Crymlyn Primary School Condition Assessment
Creunant Primary School Condition Assessment
Tywyn Primary School Condition Assessment
Tairgwaith Primary School Condition Assessment
Blaen Baglan Primary School Condition Assessment
Coedffranc Primary School Condition Assessment
Melin Junior School Condition Assessment
Melin Infant School Condition Assessment
Cwmafan Primary School Condition Assessment
Cwmafan Infant School Condition Assessment
Crynallt Primary School Condition Assessment
Crynallt Infant School Condition Assessment Report
Central Primary School Condition Assessment
Central Infant School Condition Assessment
Catwg Primary School Condition Assessment
Eastern Primary School Condition Assessment
Eastern Nursery School Condition Assessment
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