Potential Catholic federation of four county schools in Diocese of Menevia backed by senior councillors

A consultation on the potential federation of Pembrokeshire’s four Catholic schools was backed by senior councillors earlier this week.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on 24th April, backed a recommendation that authority be delegated to the Director of Education to start a statutory consultation on federations for Haverfordwest’s Mary Immaculate Catholic School and Tenby’s St Teilo’s Catholic School, and Fishguard’s Holy Name Catholic School and Milford Haven’s St Francis Catholic School.

A report for Cabinet members stated: “Due to various headteacher vacancies and a growing inability to recruit, the current status and headship arrangements at the schools are outlined in the following table. Currently, there are informal arrangements in three of the above schools, with a recruitment process being necessary in the fourth.

“It is necessary to ‘formalise’ these arrangements, and the relevant governing bodies and the Diocese of Menevia have expressed a wish to consider establishing federations.”

The report said St Francis has been without a permanent headteacher since September 2022. Since then, St Francis and Holy Name have been in an informal collaboration, with the headteacher of Holy Name acting as an executive headteacher across the two schools, following  several unsuccessful recruitment rounds for St Francis.

Members also heard Mary Immaculate School will need to recruit a headteacher for September and St Teilo’s has been without a permanent headteacher since January.

The report added: “Since then, St Teilo’s Catholic School and Tavernspite/Templeton Federation have been in an informal collaboration, with the headteacher of the Tavernspite/Templeton Federation acting as executive headteacher across the schools.

“Following several recruitment rounds, the arrangement was established as the governing body at St Teilo’s was unable to appoint a headteacher for the school.

“The governing body of St Teilo’s, supported by the Diocese of Menevia, would like to consider a formal federation with another Catholic school.”

Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language Guy Woodham stressed the potential federation was “not an amalgamation, a takeover, or a route to school closure,” adding the schools would remain as separate establishments.

He moved the recommendation, seconded by Councillor Alec Cormack.

Council Leader David Simpson recalled the success of the federation of the Tavernspite and Templeton schools in his own ward.

“I cannot emphasise how good the transition was and how good the schools are now; an excellent way forward.”

Pictured: Haverfordwest’s Mary Immaculate Catholic School