Sunday 22 May 2011

Pantecelyn Closure - Community 'Consultation' Meeting

A few thoughts about the Community Consultation meeting at Pantecelyn School last week. We were graced with (almost) the same 'panel' of Carmarthenshire Council officers who attended the parents' meeting the week before. At that meeting things got a little heated especially as it became apparent that no matter how valid the objections are, there would be no swaying from the proposals to close Pantecelyn and build the new school at Ffairfach. This week the 'panel' were ready for it and a polished performance of patronising spin was trotted out; no one from the 'community' had a straight answer to their concerns - the failings in the proposals which were revealed in the previous meeting were glossed over with stock answers and the usual variations on the truth.
Campaigners certainly have a battle on their hands although evidence is emerging which may prove how badly the consultation process was flawed - and I would suggest that to ensure voices are heard in the Welsh Assembly, everyone who writes letters of objection to the Council or raises concerns about either the closure or the site selection, or both, in this 'consultation'  (by June 17th) should be sure to send a copy to the Assembly as well, because by the time Mr Sully and his department cobble together their 'report' on this little exercise, for full Council and the Assembly, your objections will bear little resemblance to, and therefore carry far less weight than you originally intended.
One would almost think that the 'panel' were selected, not for their skills in Education (we know of course that the Director of Education, Mr Sully, was slotted into this post from the 'Special Projects' Department) but for their ability to drive through unpopular and controversial plans via shiny PR skills, rhetoric, and what occasionally amounted to barely suppressed aggression.

Anyone who still believes that there will be 'room for negotiation' with Carmarthenshire Council over this matter clearly has not yet experienced the pain of banging one's head against a brick wall.
(Please also search for previous posts for background)

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