Suzy Davies AM backs fight to keep Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School open
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save their school from closure have won the support of a regional AM.
Conservative member Suzy Davies has confirmed she will submit objections to Neath Port Talbot Council over its plans for Cwrt Sart Comprehensive in Briton Ferry.
Education chiefs want to close it, along with Glan Afan and Sandfields comprehensives and Traethmelyn Primary School, and replace them with a £40 million super-school.
This will be built on part of the Western Avenue playing fields in Baglan Moors as part of the authority's £93 million 21st Century Schools programme.
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The Save Our Cwrt Sart (Socs) campaign group has said it fully supported the idea of a super-school for Port Talbot, but not having the Briton Ferry school become part of it.
That view was echoed by Mrs Davies, who has met Socs chairman Teifion Rees. "Drawing Cwrt Sart into the mix is a school too far," she said. "Briton Ferry is a proud community with a strong identity and heritage.
"There is no link at all between Briton Ferry and Port Talbot — the links are all with Neath.
"Putting children from Briton Ferry into a new school in Port Talbot smacks of bureaucratic convenience rather than educational need.
"Cwrt Sart has community school status with an excellent academic record and is an integral part of the identity of Briton Ferry. I will be urging education chiefs at the council to go back to the drawing board and rethink their plans."
Consultation continues until Friday, April 26.
The council says it will consider all responses and then decide whether to proceed to the next stage.
That would be publishing a statutory notice of intent on May 13, followed by a further one-month consultation.
If there are objections at that stage, and the council wants to push ahead, then the matter will be referred to the Welsh Government for a decision.
Mrs Davies said: "What happened to the comprehensive school principle that children should be educated in their own community in a school that is at its heart? Children from the Melin also attend and parents are supporting the fight to keep the school open.
"The campaigners have come up with an alternative solution which would see Cwrt Sart developed into an all-through school serving pupils from four upwards. It would also enable savings by closing outdated primary schools. That would give the council the savings it is looking for."