Cabinet member defends Prestatyn High School
Denbighshire’s cabinet member for education has defended Prestatyn High School after a councillor said the building was ‘overcrowded, crumbling and leaking’.
Last week Prestatyn councillor Paul Penlington claimed £107 million has been spent on secondary and primary schools across Denbighshire – while Prestatyn High has been left to crumble.
Cllr Penlington said much of the school was built during the 1950s, had buckets catching leaks and that the school was beyond repair. Cllr Penlington went on to claim the school had some of the highest incidents of bullying as well as the lowest attainment levels in the county, adding: ‘children are crammed into antiquated and inadequate buildings like unwanted sardines’.”
But Denbighshire County Council’s lead member for education and children’s services has denied the claims.
Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts said: “I would like to respond to recent press articles regarding Prestatyn High School.
“It is my understanding that the elected member quoted in the articles has not visited the school in more than four years and has not spoken to the headteacher recently, nor attempted to seek any information from the school.
“Myself and the elected member have a good working relationship, and I’m surprised he chose to talk to the press rather than raise the issue with me.
“I am concerned about the negative impact this could have on pupils and staff who have been working hard to achieve great things at the school.
“As a council we have invested significant resources to ensure an excellent educational setting at the school. This is based on an agreed programme between the school and the local authority to ensure resources are targeted at the right areas.
“Between 2014 and this year, £2 million has been spent on maintaining and improving the school building including toilet and changing room refurbishments, lighting and heating upgrades as well as works to the roof, windows and the refurbishment of mobile classrooms.
“This also includes the current refurbishment and redesign of the science labs to the highest specification.
“The council has worked with the Welsh Government to secure £95 million of school refurbishments and new builds throughout the county under the 21st century school programme.
“The council’s strategic outline programme for school refurbishment submitted in 2017 to Welsh Government highlighted the need to invest in Prestatyn in future bands of funding.
“I would also like to address claims made about students’ attainment as I’m pleased to say the school’s results are actually above the Welsh average in many measures. This is to the credit of staff and pupils at the school.”
He added: “The school also takes a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, and staff deal with any instances quickly and effectively.
“I have visited the school, and the council will continue to work closely with the headteacher and staff who work tirelessly to deliver the best education and pastoral care possible.”
By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter
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