Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/496/2653
The Socialist 19 July 2007 |
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Building resistance to schools closures in Cardiff
CARDIFF COUNCIL'S ruling Liberal Democrats have selected their first targets for closures and cutbacks of Cardiff's schools and leisure facilities. They want to close Llanedeyrn, Llanrumney and Rumney High Schools and squeeze the staff and students onto the site of Eastern Leisure Centre, which will also be axed if the "reorganisation" plans aren't stopped.
Ross Saunders and Lianne Francis
Council leader Rodney Berman hopes these largely working-class communities will be easy first victims in his plan. But he seriously underestimates local people's willingness to defend themselves and their communities. Parents, school workers and school students from the area are meeting on 25 July to plan action to defeat the proposals.
Last year's protest movement forced the council back from its attack on 22 schools across Cardiff. This time, the council plans sniper tactics, picking schools and leisure facilities off one by one.
The Lib Dems make vague promises about opening the new school's leisure facilities to the community, but these won't match those currently offered by Eastern Leisure centre, and won't be open during the day nor during school events.
The main political parties call asset-stripping exercises "investment in local communities" and try to sell off valuable city-centre land occupied - inconveniently from their viewpoint - by crucial public services like schools, leisure centres and hospitals.
Cardiff council's Schools Sub-committee, which includes all four main parties, voted on 13 July to back the closures. But if campaigners use the 'public consultation' period to organise opposition, collect signatures on petitions and start to form parents, workers and school students opposing the cutbacks into a campaign group, the council's plans could be stopped in their tracks.
Campaigners should demand that funding for the schools and leisure centre be restored to a level which allows them to stay open. They should say that the way schools are funded should change so that the benefits of gradually shrinking class sizes can be retained.
The meeting at Eastern Leisure Centre on Wednesday 25 July at 7.30pm will be a crucial step towards chalking up another victory for the anti-closures campaign.