So Lembit Opik has had a public meeting last night on the issue, and I hear Glyn is having one next week. Am I tempted to join in, and hold my own one? No, and I'll explain here why.
Now, since reading about the news on Glyn's blog last week, I've been talking to people since then and trying to find out more. Basically, these plans haven't taken the schools by surprise. In fact, they have been in discussion with the Local Authority about changes for a few years now and they will get a chance to input into the options before they go out for consultation. So there will be plenty of opportunities for teachers and parents to have their say on the matter. From what I gather, therefore, there's no need to immediately panic - there's time to think these plans through properly.
Personally, what I'm going to be doing is talking to the schools if they'll be willing to, and listening to their views and those of the teachers and parents in Montgomeryshire. Plus working with my fellow Plaid candidate in Powys - Colin Nosworthy - so we as a party have a realistic response for the whole of Powys. Yes, I could panic and organise a rushed and ill thought meeting, but why do that when schools knew this review was underway? I think it will be far more effective to let the schools and parents themselves lead on this, and be there to support them when they need it as well as attend any meetings they might organise on the issue.
I find it incredibly stupid that Lembit in particular organised an emergency meeting on the issue last night, and also to see him and Kirsty responding so rapidly against the plans. Surely, given the role of the Lib Dem Councillors in forming the proposals, they knew this was on the cards? If teachers were aware, then why hasn't he been consulting and talking to them way before this? Or does he not talk to his Lib Dem councillors and is completely out of touch with what's going on? And if he did know, then he needs to take responsibility for that rather than just reacting like this.
Of course, any proposals to close down schools are worrying and if any plans would worsen the standard of education in the county, or the availability of Welsh language provision and so on, I would be the first to join the teachers and parents on any campaign. But let's wait and see for now, and let the experts lead. Yes, you'll see some politicians try and score some points my whipping up a frenzy, but that's not going to enable proper debate which is what is needed when discussing difficult issues such as these.
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