The Schools Reorganisation Questionnaire (Llanfyllin)by Jane Lane
In January 2010 information was leaked to the public about a major planned change in the structure of schooling in Powys, in response to WAG objectives with regards to bilingual schooling and the introduction of more school subjects. The documents exposed revealed that the Council were debating a number of radical changes, and the options suggested included the closing of a number of highly academic and successful schools, the developments of separate Welsh language and English language secondary schools, the disappearance of the current bilingual schools, the creation of much larger schools with more travelling, the removal of the current school sixth forms and their replacement with a college system and many other ideas which would bring about very radical changes.
Many school / parent organisations were set up to discuss with parents and offer them information on these matters and also a voice with which to express any opposition they had to various changes suggested.
The schools concerned are very popular and successful schools, and naturally, as the various Council ideas have been presented, strong objections have been raised from a number of different perspectives, these being sociological, ecological (any description of the new measures would involve a huge amount of additional travel time for pupils), and financial, as well as the practical and safety concerns flagged up by increased travel times. The finalised Proposals have not yet been aired at the date of writing, because Powys County Council is required to undergo a period of consultation with schools and their associated communities, and to carry out an Impact Assessment to determine the feasibility of any Proposals they submit to the Welsh Assembly Government. Various possibilities have now been discussed and sounded out, with the schools themselves taking an active part in offering alternative ways of working within and retaining the status quo, but the exact nature and format of the Proposals is still unclear at the time of writing, although the announcement of what has been decided is imminent.
This questionnaire was devised by the Friends of Llanfyllin School, and was put to the parents and school-associated community of Llanfyllin, which is one of the schools under threat of reorganisation, or even closure, in June of 2010, and it is in this context that it should be interpreted.
This questionnaire was answered 276 times. It was made available on paper and by internet form. There were small variations between the paper and the internet format to compensate for the different media used. The paper form was issued in Welsh and English, the internet form was only issued in English due to the impossible logistics of preparing this to the required deadline. The questionnaire elicited 46 answers which were certainly from parents with pupils in the Welsh stream as opposed to the much larger number of 176 from parents of pupils certainly in the English stream. 7 of these had children in both streams. This is a reasonably proportionate balance, to my knowledge. Nonetheless the the Welsh statistics will be shown separately from the English with regards to some questions to highlight where the two groupings may have responded differently to each other. 62 people who answered had no children at the school although many of these were prospective parents for the next year's year 7. These respondents answered a shorter form. 214 responses were by current parents.
A large proportion of the respondents also commented extensively on the forms, or left email addresses, thus adding to the integrity of the data.
The questionnaire has only been analysed by one person to date, that is myself, and therefore, whilst all attempts have been made for accuracy, small errors may occur. Because the questionnaire will be drawing broad conclusions only, I do not feel such errors will be significant enough to detract from results expressed.
Jane Lane 15/04/2011
1. How many children do you have currently attending Llanfyllin High School?
2. Please indicate what language your child is educated in?
3. How satisfied are you with the education your children currently receive at Llanfyllin High School?
4. Are you resident in England?
5. How many minutes long is your child's usual journey to school?
6. How many minutes do you estimate your child's journey to Llanfair Caereinion High School would take?
7. How many minutes do you estimate your child's journey to Welshpool High School would take?
8. Was your choice of home influenced by being in the catchment area for Llanfyllin High School?
9. If Llanfyllin High School were to close, do you think you would you continue to educate your children in Powys?
10. Did the fact that Llanfyllin High School has a sixth form influence your decision to educate your child/children there?
11. If Llanfyllin High School were to become English medium only, would you continue to educate your children there?
12. If Llanfyllin High School were to become Welsh medium only, would you continue to educate your children there?
13. Do you have a child/ren currently attending Llanfyllin Sixth Form?
14. How many minutes do you estimate your child's journey to Newtown for Sixth Form Studies would take?
15. Do you have a child/children who is currently in primary education and who is expecting to attend Llanfyllin High School in Year 7?
16. Are the uncertainties about the future of Llanfyllin School likely to affect your decision about whether to send your children there?
17. If Llanfyllin High School were to become English medium only, would you send your Primary age children there in Year 7?
18. If Llanfyllin High School were to become Welsh medium only, would you send your Primary age children there in Year 7?
19. Do you have a business or employment in Llanfyllin?
20. If Llanfyllin High School were to close or to shrink in size, would this affect your work/business?
If your work or business would be affected, please could you explain briefly how.
21 Please indicate whether you agree strongly, agree, are neutral, disagree or disagree strongly with regard to these statements:
a."The separation of schools into different languages may create a more divided community"
b. "Schools with a sixth form attract more able and motivated teachers"
c. "The existence of a successful sixth form improves the quality of the whole
d. "The proposed changes to Llanfyllin High School will have a negative effect on property prices in the school's catchment area."
e. "The proposed changes to Llanfyllin High School will have a negative effect on the local community."
23. Please use this space to give any other information about how changes to or closure of Llanfyllin High School may impact upon you or your family.