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Are RCT Cabinet "Ready to Learn"

Secretary for Education was in Treorchy recently launching a new "Ready to Learn" scheme. The scheme aims to help parents and carers prepare their children for school with resources available to explain what they can do to help them learn and give them the best start possible.

She praised Treorchy Primary school for the good relationships they have already built up with parents of pupils already at the school and those who will be attending. This is of course the case in many of our local schools where staff go the extra mile in order to ensure that the pupils in their care achieve the best they possible can and regularly interact with families in order to ensure pupils are settled and happy at school.

Of course Treorchy pupils are amongst the lucky ones who will not have their education disrupted by the wholesale changes being carried out elsewhere in the Rhondda at the whim of an Education Director whose expertise is in accountancy and a Labour Cabinet Member who will benefit from another new school in her ward.

In Tonypandy and Porth primary schools will be closed and pupils moved to a "middle school" along with secondary pupils. In common with Ferndale they will have their sixth form taken away and centred in Treorchy and at a brand new school being built in Tonyrefail - in the ward of Cabinet Member for Education Eudine Hanagan.

What effect this will have in the long term is as yet unknown but taking infants out of their local communities is surely not likely to increase community engagement.

There is also a degree of irony in the fact that this scheme, designed particularly to help in the early years of learning, was launched here in RCT where the Labour council has decided to cut nursery education, despite huge opposition from just about everyone. Maybe RCT Cabinet need more lessons in parental engagement and giving children the best start.

As Education Secretary out of politeness would have had no choice but to praise RCT for some of the work they are doing, but those of us who live here and have to deal with the results of many of their poor decisions feel less charitable