Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/495/2621
Cardiff: Fight school cuts and closures
PARENTS, SCHOOL students, teachers, school workers and local communities are united in condemning Cardiff Liberal council's latest round of school cutbacks.
Rob Davies Cardiff
Five schools are earmarked to close in the first round with others severely cut back. More closures are threatened in further cuts. And Cardiff is just the first of many Welsh councils to start new attacks.
Last year the Liberal council's attempt to close 22 schools was defeated. A massive opposition campaign made the council retreat under the barrage of meetings and demonstrations.
This year they and the other parties have returned just before the summer holidays with a new plan with only five school closures in the first stage, but with more to come. In effect this is the same plan but with most of it kept quiet until the first stage is passed.
All the parties, Liberal, Labour, Plaid and Tory, accept the argument that schools should close because student numbers have fallen. They claim money is being "wasted on empty places". But falling student numbers are a great opportunity to improve education without spending extra money, through reduced pupil/teacher ratios.
No extra money is required and money is not being wasted - it is being used to improve education. There are no "empty places" just smaller classes. Their argument is just an accountant's trick to allow a reduction in the number of teachers, higher class sizes and to save money.
Llanedeyrn, Llanrumney and Rumney High Schools would close under their proposals as well as Eastern Leisure Centre. Whitchurch High School would be cut back. Cefn Onn and St. Anne's primary schools are also targeted.
Cantonian and Radyr High Schools would be next, followed by many more.
School students would be expected to travel around the city, increasing congestion, pollution and carbon emissions, to bigger schools with bigger classes. And areas would lose important community centres.
THE OPPOSITION has already started with Socialist Party members campaigning in the city centre the day after the announcement and receiving great support.
If Cardiff's LibDem council leader Rodney Berman thinks he can get away with these cuts this time he has another thought coming.
This issue affects the whole of Wales because a school closure is coming to every area of Wales.
The root of the problem lies with the Welsh Assembly schools funding formula which funds each council according to the number of students going to each school, rather than the needs of the students in those schools.
Now that student numbers are falling, a new formula is needed to allow smaller class sizes. We say abolish the formula not the schools!
What use is the One Wales coalition between Labour and Plaid? Any hope that Plaid entering the government will move things substantially to the left is being snuffed out by these closures. And so much for the Liberal campaign promise in the Assembly election for smaller class sizes!
In the past the Labour Party stood up for comprehensive public education but now they and the other three main parties are indistinguishable from each other. We need a new workers' party to fight for a better education for all our children.
In The Socialist 12 July 2007:
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Tales from the council chambers
Marxist analysis: history
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party events
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis