A NORTH Wales politician has raised concerns about moves to relocate courses from a Denbighshire college.

Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has challenged First Minister Mark Drakeford over the withdrawal of animal care courses at Coleg Llysfasi, near Ruthin.

Speaking in an afternoon meeting of the Welsh Parliament, Mr Millar raised concerns about the relocation of the animal care courses to Northop, when questioning Mr Drakeford over access to education in rural Conwy and Denbighshire.

He said: “What action is the Welsh Government taking to promote access to education in rural Conwy and Denbighshire?

“First Minister... you will be aware of the excellent provision that there has been over many years at Coleg Llysfasi, which is just outside Ruthin, which provides agricultural courses and high quality animal care courses.

“It is a matter of deep regret that Coleg Cambria has recently announced that it intends to change the location of the small animal courses that are available at Coleg Llysfasi.

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"It has made that decision with no consultation with students, no consultation with staff, and no consultation with the parents.

“The result of the withdrawal of the animal care courses at Coleg Llysfasi and their relocation to Northop means that the Welsh language provision of courses will be hampered and staff and students will face significant inconvenience.

"Access to those courses will be very difficult, particularly for those students who have already started some of their courses and hope to progress on to other years as well, because many will have, now, trips of up to an hour in each direction in order to complete their studies. That's clearly unacceptable."

Mr Millar added: “Given that further education colleges are in receipt of significant income from the Welsh Government, I would like to ask you if the Welsh Government will consider putting obligations on colleges to make sure that they are required to consult when they are proposing significant changes to the location of courses in the future, given the significant adverse impact on students and staff.”


Denbighshire Free Press: First Minister Mark DrakefordFirst Minister Mark Drakeford


In his response, the First Minister said he was not aware of the changes.

He said: “While I am very familiar with Llysfasi and the work it does, and indeed the excellent work carried out by Coleg Cambria, that's the first I've heard of the specific issue that he's set out comprehensively this afternoon.

“The Minister will have heard what he has to say. I'm sure he'll be happy to look at whether there are changes to arrangements that need to be put in place, or whether it's more a matter of pursuing the individual concern that Darren Millar has raised this afternoon.”

A Coleg Cambria spokesperson said: "The priority now is developing Cambria's offering in Llysfasi and Northop, playing to each site's strengths and putting our students at the heart of all decisions.

"Llysfasi will continue to provide land-based academic courses coupled with farming and agriculture, which it has done successfully for more than a century.

"We will also capitalise on continuing projects to lead the next generation of green, net-zero farming - driven by the Biofactory and carbon-neutral facility – and plan to upgrade buildings and accommodation in the near future.

"Northop will become a centre of excellence for animal care, which means we have made the difficult decision to no longer deliver our equestrian and horticulture programmes.

"We are open to discussions on continuing use of the equestrian facilities via a social or community partnership and focused on the long-term, viable future of the campus.

"We will also be investing in provision for ILS (Independent Living Skills) students and providing first-class animal care courses on-site.

"We are in discussions with all colleagues directly affected to offer support and explore options across the college, while ensuring learners and parents/guardians are provided with timely and appropriate information."