MONMOUTH MP David Davies has Monmouthshire Council’s leader of maintaining “a stony silence” over the row over school places at an oversubscribed primary in her ward.

High demand for places at Gilwern Primary School near Abergavenny has meant 17 local children – many of whom already have siblings at the school – will miss out.

Mr Davies has been supporting furious parents whose children face refusal for admission in September, despite living in the catchment area.

He has requested a meeting with Llanelly Hill ward member Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby, alongside representatives from the ‘Hopeful Gilwern Parents’ group and governing body.

Mr Davies said he would welcome the opportunity to discuss funding an additional reception class to accommodate the children.

But no response has been received from Cllr Brocklesby, prompting an angry backlash from the Monmouth MP who hit out at her “conspicuous silence and failure to step up”.

“I am extremely disappointed Cllr Brocklesby has not had the courtesy to answer me,” said Mr Davies.

“Once Parliament is dissolved (Thursday, May 30) ahead of the general election, I will be limited as to what action I can take as a candidate. Whereas Cllr Brocklesby as the local council representative is in a position to step in and help parents.

“Monmouthshire County Council has spent significant sums of money on creating Welsh medium primary provision (Ysgol Gymraeg Trefynwy) on the site of Overmonnow Primary School in Monmouth, despite an expected reception intake of just one pupil.

“Yet 17 pupils are being prevented from attending their local school because the council is too short sighted to fund an extra classroom for them.

“If these children cannot go to Gilwern, the local authority will be liable for paying for school transport - so this wouldn’t even work as a money saving measure.

“Plus, we have just had the news that the opening of the new King Henry VIII School building for pupils aged three to 19 has been delayed by a further five months.

 “I remain in regular contact with parents and fully support their campaign”.

Mary Ann Brocklesby, Monmouthshire council\'s Labour group leader
Mary Ann Brocklesby, Monmouthshire council's Labour group leader (MCC)

Councillor Brocklesby hit back at Mr Davies’s criticism saying she has been in contact with all parents who raised concerns with her.

"Gilwern School was over-subscribed by a small number of pupils and I have personally been in touch will ALL the parents who raised concerns with me. I am also in touch with the head teacher,” said Cllr Brocklesby.

“Some of those who raised concerns are not in the school’s catchment area and have been offered places in their own areas.  

“We have a tried and tested policy - which we inherited -  that applies to allocating places in Monmouthshire, where we have great schools. We apply it fairly across the board.

“I find it sad that the Tories’ Welsh Secretary seems to play political games with children’s education, rather than to ensure that Wales is properly funded from the centre. In any event this is not a matter which is properly resolved as part of his bid to hang on to his seat."