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Green light for new Llanfyllin school

 
Created on 13/03/2019 @ 10:06
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Moves to amalgamate Llanfyllin Primary and High Schools have been backed by the cabinet, but another to merge two village primary schools has been postponed for a month.

The Llanfyllin facility is now set to become Powys’ second all through age four to 18 school, joining Machynlleth’s Ysgol Bro Hyddgen. And more schools in Powys are expected to follow the model soon.

At Cabinet Education portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, said: “This is the product of a good deal of work and a new way of looking at school reorganisation. The governors of both schools met and invited the council to attend.

“They were concerned about providing educational excellence, providing stability and community focus for their area. The work began with the consultation and we have the results. It was broadly favourable, and we can move ahead.”

Cllr Alexander added: “As we know a new curriculum is on its way and it will provide primary style teaching in the lower reaches of high school and also demands a very challenging curriculum from primary school.

“For this reason it makes sense to look at the education of our children as a whole, rather than dividing it into the current two systems.

“The new school organisation document that this council passed about a year ago states the aspiration that all schools should be all-through or part of multi-site options to build on our strengths.

“We face difficult times but through engagement we can provide creative solutions and provide top quality education in this part of North Powys.”

Portfolio holder for Adult Services, Cllr Stephen Hayes (Independent – Montgomery), said: “If we make this decision, are we prejudicing any future decisions that may need to be made about sixth form provision or the wider organisation of the primary schools in the catchment area?”

Director of Education Ian Budd answered: “It does not pre-empt future decision making.”

The decision was backed by the cabinet unanimously.

The statutory process will see both schools close from August 31, 2020. And on the next day, September 1, 2020, a fully bilingual all through school from the age of four to 18 will be opened.

Combining the schools would address falling numbers at both sites, which are predicted to drop from 844 pupils in January next year to 702 by January 2023.

Meanwhile, the decision to merge Dyffryn Banw County Primary School in the village of Llangadfan and nearby Llanerfyl Church in Wales Foundation School has been postponed. Information given by Llanerfyl School governors at last week’s full council meeting contributed to a number of councillors questioning the advice given by education officers to choose Dyffryn Banw Primary School site.

They wondered why Dyffryn Banw, which had fewer pupils, was being chosen instead of Llanerfyl. Since then Dyffryn Banw school governors have countered saying that they would be receiving more pupils next year, debunking the claim that they are the smaller school.

The decision will now be made at the next Cabinet meeting in a month’s time.

To meet statutory requirements to close both schools on August 31, 2020, and open a new one on September 1, 2020, a decision would need to be taken by the beginning of May.

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter
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