Notorious, glorious and curious - it's Flintshire

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Looking for a job where?

Flintshire. It's in north-east Wales. According to a local website, Flintshire "is waiting to be discovered". It has been in the news lately though with the controversy of the couple who adopted twins from the United States over the Internet.

Ah - presumably not the kind of discovery the county had in mind.

No, though on the plus side a lot of Americans will at least have heard of it now.

Flintshire does seem to have something of an identity crisis. Before it became a unitary authority in 1996, it was part of the bigger county of Clwyd. And before the previous local government shake-up in 1974 it was, erI Flintshire.

It is a curious county. It's Welsh, but to outsiders its inhabitants sound like they are from Merseyside. It has some gloriously beautiful countryside and nature spots like the Dee estuary, but also some fairly down-at-heel towns such as Shotton and Flint, which have suffered with the decline of the manufacturing sector.

What about the education sector? Many jobs?

That's another curious thing. Generally Flintshire education authority seems to have missed out on the teacher shortages afflicting many other areas. However, there are shortages in Welsh language teaching, particularly in sciences at the county's Welsh-medium secondary school.

There are 12 secondary schools, 75 primaries, three special schools and one pupil-referal unit.

The county came out well in a recent inspection of standards of numeracy by Estyn, the Welsh Office for Standards in Education.

John Clutton, head of school services, says: "There has been general growth in terms of teacher recruitment in this authority. I think it's a very forward-looking authority. We have a very positive relationship with all our schools."

And when the school bell has gone?

There is the north Wales coast and splendid Snowdonia within easy reach on one side, while on the other, you can nip over the border to Chester, Liverpool or Manchester.

Are houses expensive?

Footballer Michael Owen recently bought an entire street to house members of his family, though he's not exactly on a teacher's salary.

You can expect to pay between pound;80,000 and pound;90,000 for a three-bedroom semi-detached house in upmarket Hawarden. A three-bedroom mid-terrace house in less leafy areas would be around pound;45,000.

Renting a semi would cost between pound;375 and pound;500 a month.

Any famous sons, daughters or residents?

Apart from the aforementioned home-loving soccer star, Victorian prime minister William Gladstone lived there. Also actor Jonathan Pryce and writer Emlyn Williams. Other famous residents include Judith and Alan Kilshaw, recently in the news on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to their high-profile adoption saga.

Martin Whittaker

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