Prestatyn High School is the largest secondary school both in Denbighshire and North Wales. In the last visit by Estyn, the school was judged to be making ‘Good Progress’ in all areas. There is a sense of vibrancy and success about the Prestatyn High School community and leadership. This all deserves to be recognised with continued renovation of the school buildings and, moreover, a commitment to a new-build. I want to lead the charge for modern facilities for future learners. There are, of course, other schools in the local area which could also benefit from new buidings, such as in Denbigh.
The rebuilding of Prestatyn High School has long been debated by the local authority, which has been successful in recent years in securing funding for new school buildings in Denbighshire.
In 2017, the condition of the school buildings at Prestatyn High School was judged to be “poor” (in a range of good, satisfactory, poor, and bad). Despite careful management and maintenance, this will inevitably broadly remain the case. There are now heightened energy and environmental considerations which should also be reflected in the debate. The school also faces competition from the three nearest alternative secondary schools, all of which have been entirely renewed in recent times.
In February 2022, the council considered a motion to ‘seek additional Welsh Government funding in order to fund a complete re-build of Prestatyn High School based on earlier designs drawn up for the 21st Century School programme … to meet the current needs of secondary pupils of Prestatyn’. This was not agreed to. Rather, the council’s Modernising Education Board was asked to review the condition surveys of all schools.
A report was prepared in April 2022 which, unsurprisingly, confirmed the earlier findings relating to Prestatyn High School and highlighted the cost of the authority’s general maintenance programme.
In July 2022, new lead member for education Councillor Gill German, presented a report to DCC’s cabinet which resolved: “Cabinet confirms the view of the Modernising Education Programme Board that no significant change had occurred in respect of the condition of school buildings and that the current policy order of schools is still current and correct.”
The position, therefore, remains as before and moves to seek a re-build of Prestatyn High School have for now been overlooked.
The council’s interest in Prestatyn appears to have slipped down the list since 2016 when the need to invest in Prestatyn in future bands of funding was first recognised and then highlighted to Welsh Government.
The current council leadership, led by Prestatyn Labour members, were elected only in May 2022. In their election leaflets they said, “…bids for Prestatyn have not been put in by successive Tory, Plaid Cymru and Independent led councils. It’s time for Prestatyn High.” In addition to the unfair criticism of previous councils, it is disappointing to say the least that they have broken this promise within a matter of weeks.
It is time for Prestatyn High School. This is not a 'political football'. I call upon all elected councillors in Denbighshire to build on the work of the local authority since 2016. Look back and seek funding from the Welsh Government.
The learners and staff of Prestatyn High School should be able to look forward to a completely modern and sustainable environment in which their community can learn.