February 26, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

Senedd candidates clash on future of Ysgol Abersoch

THE proposed closure of a Llŷn school has been slammed by a  Tory Senedd hopeful.

Charlie Evans described the move to shut Ysgol Abersoch  as “the latest example of the Council’s policy of closing rural schools.”

Gwynedd Council is currently consulting on a statutory notice to shut the 10 pupil Ysgol Abersoch, citing an “unsustainable” future due to falling numbers and the resulting high cost per pupil.

If the decision to shut goes ahead, from September 2021 the pupils will be offered daily transport for the 1.4 miles journey to Ysgol Sarn Bach.

Mr Evans wants to contest the Dwyfor Meirionnydd for the Conservative Party in May’s Senedd elections and keeping the school open is one of his key aims.

He said:

“I want to see people grow their families here. I want to see local communities thrive. Schools are at the centre of that strategy. Rural school decline is not inevitable and it is yet another school to close on the Llŷn.

“Gwynedd Council highlights the costs per head to run the school versus the average cost. That, however, ignores the fact that town schools will always be less costly to run per pupil.

“If that is their basis for their decisions, then we are just going to see more rural schools close. This is not fair.

“This is a decision that only looks at the short-term cost implications, failing to recognise the social and cultural benefits of promoting the Welsh language, as well as making the regeneration of rural communities that much harder.”

Mr Evans’ will be hosting an online meeting about the future of Ysgol Abersoch over Zoom at 7 pm this Thursday (January 28).

One of his opponents, however, says that dwindling numbers is a “symptom of a far deeper problem,” with fewer young families living permanently in the village due to “extortionate” house prices pushing locals away.

Plaid Cymru’s Mabon ap Gwynfor is hoping to replace Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas as the constituency’s representative in Cardiff Bay.

Mr ap Gwynfor said,

“Last autumn I called on the authority to extend its consultation period to ensure that as many people as possible have an opportunity to voice their opinions, made more difficult because of the situation with the Coronavirus.

“I’m grateful to them for taking heed and note that the consultation has been extended to the end of February.

“I have proposed that they look at federalising the schools as an alternative proposal, but for this, to work for each school in the proposed federation would need to agree to the idea.
“However, the school is a symptom of a far deeper problem. There are fewer and fewer young families living permanently in the village, with extortionate house prices pushing people out of the community. The lack of long term employment is also a key factor.
“This is why we need urgent action to control the housing market to ensure that houses are available at an affordable price and that decent year-round employment is developed to ensure that young people can live and raise their families in the community.”

Other candidates contesting the Dwyfor Meirionnydd seat were approached for comment.

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