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Schools future talks to start

 
Created on 01/09/2018 @ 09:20
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A Consultation is due to start soon on the future of two rural schools in the Banw Valley.

Due to falling numbers the future of Ysgol Dyffryn Banw in Llangadfan, is in the balance.

It had been expected that the Powys Cabinet would decide to close the school with pupils transferred to the nearby Llanerfyl Church in Wales School.

But they decided to hold a consultation to look at all the options.

This includes establishing a new Welsh-Medium Church in Wales Voluntary Aided School probably on the Llanerfyl site, but arguments have been put forward to have it based at Dyffryn Banw.

Should this option be taken up, then it is possible that Powys County Council (PCC) could apply to the Welsh Government’s 21st Century schools programme as £1 million is needed to upgrade the site.

Dyffryn Banwy County Councillor and Education Cabinet member, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, is a school governor at Llanerfyl.

She has declared an interest in the issue and is acting as a local councillor.

Cllr Alexander said: “It is difficult to admit that demographic pressures have forced  us to face a decision such as this.

“This special area is a stronghold for the Welsh language and a haven for its culture.

“We have a duty to the future to ensure Welsh-medium education for the children of the Valley, to fulfil the County and Welsh Government’s policies.”

The school building in Llanerfyl is owned by the Priscilla Foster Trust.

On behalf of the trustees, the Rev Jane James, said that they are happy to  support the proposal to establish a new Voluntary Aided Church in Wales school in Llanerfyl.

The Dioceses of St Asaph has also backed having a new school in Llanerfyl.

St Asaph Diocese, director of Education and Lifelong Learning, Rosalind Williams, said: “The needs of the current and future pupils at the new school are our priority, the diocese wishes to support a way forward that enhances the educational opportunities for pupils so that the children of Llanerfyl and Banw and the wider community can benefit.”

But the school governors of Ysgol Dyffryn Banw, believe that a new school should be placed there, rather than Llanerfyl.

They and have pointed out that £1 million investment is needed in the Llanerfyl school building.

They said: “It is accepted that a new single school is needed in the Banw Community.

“It’s vital that this is a school that is suitable in terms of condition and facilities to deliver the new curriculum, and continue to provide the excellent quality of Welsh medium education currently being provided in Banw School.”

The governors believe that there are no guarantees that Powys Council could find the money for Llanerfyl.

They add: “The Banw site does not require £1 million investment to make it suitable.

“Why is this not the recommended site?

“Pupil numbers are generally the same in both communities, Church in Wales status can be placed on either site.”

“If the £1 million investment is not guaranteed then the new school would be poor/bad in terms of suitability criteria and would be failing the children.”

A spokesman for PCC said that they anticipated the consultation to start in Mid-September.

Projected Pupil Numbers for the School are:

Banwy CP School

January 2019 January 2020 January 2021 January 2022 January 2023

22                        18                               17                           13                       15

Llanerfyl CIW School

January 2019 January 2020 January 2021 January 2022 January 2023

28                        30                        29                          31                           28

Following the consultation the cabinet will discuss the issue again to make a  decision

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