RURAL COMMUNITIES RIPPED APART : WORKERS & PARENTS SLAM “UNFORGIVABLE” POWYS SCHOOL CLOSURES
Parents, teachers and school workers have hit back at plans by Powys County Council to close four rural primary schools that they say will tear small communities apart.
Over 130 children across the county face returning from lockdown with the news that their school could soon no longer be in existence, and the prospect of long bus journeys to wherever they end up.
Parents have spoken about how heartbroken they are, with one describing being in tears every day since the announcement was made. The proposals to shut Castle Caereinion Church in Wales (CiW) Primary, Churchstoke County Primary, Llanbedr CiW Primary and Llanfihangel Rhydithon County Primary would also see jobs disappear from rural Wales and could impact children’s mental health.
POWYS COUNTY COUNCIL ANNOUNCES PLANS TO CLOSE FOUR SMALL SCHOOLS
Plans to close small primary schools in Powys will be consulted on, and considered next week. Powys County Council is looking to reconfigure and rationalise the primary school provision in the county as part of its Strategy for Transforming Education in Powys 2020-2030.
The council is proposing to close four small primary schools and on Tuesday, February 9, Cabinet will be asked to start the statutory process to close the following:
Castle Caereinon Church in Wales School - Churchstoke County Primary School - Llanbedr Church in Wales School - Llanfihangel Rhydithon County Primary School
IS THE SCHOOLS TRANSFORMATION STRATEGY AFFORDABLE?
Calls have been made for Powys’ 10-year school transformation programme to be assessed independently because of doubts over its financial viability.
Several new school buildings could be constructed over the next decade, as part of a strategy agreed last year.
The expectation is that the Welsh Government’s 21st century schools fund would pick up 65 per cent of the tab, leaving Powys Council to fund the remaining 35 per cent.
At a finance panel meeting on Friday, January 29, the affordability of the strategy was questioned.