Controversial merger of schools is given the green light
5:41pm Monday 7th April 2014 in News
HAKIN Community School and Hubberston VC School are to merge, it was decided by Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet on Monday (April 7).
The controversial move follows months of speculation over the future of the two schools.
Both schools will be closed to “establish a single all-through English medium Church in Wales VC primary school” as of September 1 2016.
Other options included retaining the status quo or building a new school at Hakin only.
Last November cabinet agreed to consult on a proposal to merge the two schools, but a consultation found “little appetite for the proposal”.
Concerns were expressed over the loss of “family ethos”, the size of the new school, and the loss of parental choice and community space. Parents held a peaceful protest outside Hubberston VC School on Monday morning.
Cabinet member for education Councillor Ken Rowlands said: “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the way forward.”
Council leader Cllr Jamie Adams said change was “never popular.” He added: “I’m absolutely clear that my decision today will be made for the children of Hakin and Hubberston.”
But Cllr Simon Hancock called for more consideration to be given to building a new school at Hakin only.
After the meeting Hakin county councillor Mike Stoddart called the move “a stain on democracy”.
He added: “By way of a series of carefully choreographed steps, we have gone from a firm promise last June that Hakin would have a new school regardless of whether the merger with Hubberston went ahead, to thinly-veiled threats that, unless the merger goes ahead, no new build will take place.”
Hubberston county councillor Viv Stoddart said she was “disappointed” but “not surprised”.
“Hubberston parents are passionate about retaining their small school which provides an excellent education and caring environment for their children,” she said.
“The parents I spoke to on Monday are agreed that the process has been flawed from start to finish.”
She called on the council to now engage with the school communities and keep them informed.