April 22, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

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

Two Powys primary schools considered for closure

TWO Powys primary schools are being considered for proposed closure.

The consultation will not start for several months, as a feasibility study on extending a school to take extra pupils is needed first.

Powys County Council’s Independent/Conservative cabinet revisited the reorganisation of primary schools in the Llanfyllin catchment area at their meeting on Thursday, March 18.

The proposal on the table was to start the statutory process to close the primary schools in Llanfechain  and Llangedwyn.

These schools are federated and share a headteacher,

Councillors were also asked to agree to business justification case for submission to the Welsh Government for £50,000, so that new extension to Llansantffraid primary school can be built.

All three are Church in Wales schools.

Llansantffraid County Councillor, Gwynfor Thomas (Conservative) who also represents Llanfechain, was unable to be at the meeting.

His comments were read out at the meeting by Wyn Richards, the head of democratic services.

Cllr Thomas said:  “I am supportive of increasing the size of the Llansantffraid to a level that provides a sustainable future to the school.

“This has had the support of governors before learning of the new proposals, as it’s much needed.

“On the other hand, it is difficult to comprehend the proposals for the two federated schools of Llangedwyn and Llanffechain, both are popular and Llanfechain continues to grow.”

Numbers show that Llanfechain has gone up to 43 pupils.

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative) who is also the county councillor for Llangedwyn, said: “Llangedwyn is a small school, the actual  number of children from within that catchment area is less than 10.

“It attracts others because of the quality of education there.

“Because of those low numbers we should go to formal consultation on the closures, and any inaccuracies in these reports can be drawn out in that process.

“It’s important that the community participates.”

Cllr Davies did ask if funding for the expansion at Llansantffraid did not appear, whether the closures could go ahead?

Councillors were told that discussions with the Diocese of St Asaph have already been taking place.

This has seen the proposals for the area re-jigged since they were first brought out in September 2020.

Senior education service manager, Marianne Evans, said that Llansantffraid primary school was full, and an extension was already agreed.

The talks with the diocese she said, had made it “apparent” that if Llanfechain and Llangedwyn were to close, then offer of places in an alternative Church in Wales school is needed.

Ms Evans explained that there is a need to provide a feasibility study on the Llansantffraid extension, before the proposal goes out to consultation.

She believed this could be finished by the end of June.

Ms Evans: “It will give us far more detail around the works required – then a business justification case would be submitted to the Welsh Government for funding, only after that should we proceed to consult.”

Portfolio holder for Chidren’s Social Services and Culture, Cllr Rachel Powell welcomed her comments, and said that communities wanted to know what “the better offer is.”

The cabinet backed the proposal unanimous and it is expected that both schools will close on August 31, 2023.

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