Support our Nation today - please donate here

Fears of 80 job losses as new school plan is dumped

21 May 2024 5 minute read
Ysgol Heol Goffa. Photo via Google

Martin Shipton

Unions have voiced fears that about 80 jobs could be at risk at Llanelli’s Ysgol Heol Goffa after Carmarthenshire Council controversially axed plans for a new state-of-the-art school.

But the Plaid Cymru-led authority sought to allay fears by saying a review of special needs education in the Llanelli area would be undertaken and full consultation would take place before decisions were made.

Staff at Ysgol Heol Goffa are worried that it could be forced to close after the decision not to proceed with the new school was announced.

‘Real fears’

Gareth Lloyd, secretary of Carmarthenshire Trades Council, said: ‘There are real fears amongst all the 80 or so staff at Ysgol Heol Goffa over the future of the school and their jobs. The whole community is supporting the pupils, parents and staff in getting their promised new school.

“The education unions in particular will be holding the decision makers to account and will not accept any job losses.How we treat our most disadvantaged pupils and our educators in such a vital setting reflects on everybody.”

Helen Johns, national executive member of the teaching union NASUWT, said: ‘We stand ready to support all members and expect fairness for all. Transparency is key to maintaining trust in the processes ahead.”

Local county and town councillors are also drawing up battle lines to fight what they describe as the county council’s “morally contemptible” decision announced last week.


Labour town councillor Andrew Bragoli said: ‘I am disgusted with Plaid. They have promised the earth and gone back on a pledge pleading poverty when 75% of the money for the scheme was coming from the Welsh Government. The school is in a state. Staff have been left gutted by the news. Parents and the children themselves have been betrayed. It is a shocking decision and morally contemptible. It’s education apartheid to treat pupils with special needs in this way.”

Llanelli Town Council leader David Dartkin said he was “furious” at the decision: “It looks to me that the county council will be failing in its obligations to the most vulnerable and needy children in our county,” he said. “Plaid Cymru are sending a strong signal that they couldn’t care about our kids with special needs.”

More than 500 people have signed an online petition opposing the county council’s stance and calling for promises for a new school – first announced by Plaid seven years ago – to be honoured.

Llanelli MP Dame Nia Griffith said: “After the devastating announcement last Monday that Carmarthenshire County Council has decided not to proceed with the building of a much-needed and long-promised new school for Ysgol Heol Goffa, the county council caused further alarm last Thursday with a statement mentioning ‘the delivery of alternative facilities on different sites’ without any dialogue with the school community, leaving staff fearing for their jobs and pupils and parents wondering what the future holds. They should be the first to know.

“I have called on the cabinet member for education, Plaid’s Glynog Davies, to ensure his department enters into urgent dialogue with staff, governors and parents and that the county should pull out all the stops to continue with the building of a new school for Ysgol Heol Goffa.”


A letter from Cllr Davies was sent to all parents on the evening of Monday May 20 stating: “You will be aware of the county council’s decision not to proceed with the proposed new school building for Ysgol Heol Goffa. We recognise your frustrations and share your disappointment that the planned new school will not be built. However due to the construction costs associated with the build having escalated significantly from what was originally estimated, we have no choice but to consider alternative plans.

“While we are unable to deliver the planned new school building, we are fully committed to

providing the very best facilities for your children and all additional learning needs pupils in Llanelli. With the needs of Ysgol Heol Goffa pupils first and foremost in our minds, we will very

soon begin a review of the current additional learning needs specialist provision in Llanelli. The results of the review will inform our officers as they work to develop alternative proposals that will serve the needs of our learners.

“In the meantime, improvement works will be carried out at Ysgol Heol Goffa to ensure that

all pupils at the school will benefit from the very best facilities possible. No further decisions have been taken at this stage, and any future proposals that will be developed with the school will be subject to full public consultation at the appropriate time.

“Investing in specialist provision for pupils with additional learning needs is integral to the council’s vision. The recently opened units at Ysgol Glan y Môr, Burry Port, Ysgol Gynradd Llangennech and Burry Port Junior School are testament and examples to our determination to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of all pupils across the county.

“We would like to reassure you that any proposals that will be brought forward to you and the wider family of Ysgol Heol Goffa will ensure that your children will continue to receive the very best education.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.