Cwrt Sart campaigners to demonstrate outside Princess Royal Theatre today
CAMPAIGNERS will stage a demonstration in Port Talbot today over a threat to close their school.
Parents, staff and governors at Cwrt Sart Comprehensive, in Briton Ferry, are up in arms over plans to merge into a super-school that Neath Port Talbot Council proposes to build in Baglan.
Today members of the Save Our Cwrt Sart (Socs) protest group were planning to display banners outside the Princess Royal Theatre before authority officials present a briefing on the school reorganisation.
Neath Port Talbot Council is proposing to close Cwrt Sart, along with Glan Afan and Sandfields comprehensives in Port Talbot.
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They would be replaced with a £40 million "super-school" in the Baglan area, the exact location of which has yet to be disclosed.
But campaigners argue it would rip the heart out of their community and undo all of Cwrt Sart's achievements over many years.
School governor Lisa May is an ex-pupil who currently has two children at the school and a third who went there but is now studying opera at City University in London.
Mrs May said a petition with thousands of names would be handed over to education director Karl Napieralla today.
"There is an open session in the Princess Royal Theatre for parents and governors to ask questions from 6pm," she said.
"A load of us will be outside from 4.30pm onwards with banners making it clear exactly how we feel.
"It's fast coming to the point where the council is going to make the decision, though we think it has probably made the decision already.
"Even so, we have to fight for what we believe in because this is going to ruin our community."
Mrs May said the school was often open until 9pm at night to accommodate community events, and had an all-weather sports surface.
"If they close Cwrt Sart then there will be no sports facilities and nowhere else to go other than one community centre," said Mrs May.
The super-school proposal is part of the council's £93 million School Improvement Programme.
It's designed to drive up education standards and to deal with maintenance issues in existing school buildings.
According to the chairman of governors and of the Socs campaign, Teifion Rees, the campaign has grown into a grass roots movement.
"Our campaign petition now stands at more than 5,000 signatures, and well over 400 individuals," he said.
"Organisations both local and further afield have signed up to our direct contacts list.
"The number 400 is a conservative estimate."
Mr Rees added: "Many of our supporters are officers of local organisations who ensure that our bulletins and campaign material are distributed to their respective members."