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Primary schools review underway

Created on 24/06/2020 @ 10:07
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A review of Powys primary schools that could see several close in the coming years is underway.

But no details of which ones are to shut were revealed at a meeting of Powys County Council’s learning and skills scrutiny committee.

The Strategy for Transforming Education in Powys 2020-30 was approved in April 14 and since then, a “Schools Transformation Programme Board” has been set up with the different strands of transformation divided up into “work streams”.

Change will be made in three stages, or “waves”, as the council calls them, with the first through to 2022, the second to 2025 and the third to 2030.

Work stream one deals with primary and all age schools.

Llandrinio councillor, Lucy Roberts, asked: “Will you be reviewing all primary schools in wave one or is that going to be in parts of the county at a time?”

School transformation manager, Marianne Evans, told the committee: “We will be reviewing the smallest schools and we’re working through all of them below a certain number.”

But, the threshold for pupil numbers which means a school is in danger of closure if it has less than the magic figure, was not revealed.

Ms Evans pointed out that there were now extra obstacles to closing schools.

She added: “In the Welsh Government school organisation code there is a section titled, ‘presumption against the closure of rural schools’ which is a further step we are required to take when considering small and rural schools.

“We have to present a report that we have considered all options and explain why we have decided not to go with them.”

By 2030, all 11 current secondary schools should become all age schools teaching children from the age of four to 18 years.

Committee chairman, Councillor Pete Roberts, said: “Do you have any idea at this point which catchment area you are looking at for three all age schools?”

Ms Evans, said: “We’re in initial discussion with a number of schools, I can’t name them obviously as we have to go through the proper channels. It’s all very positive at this stage.”

Work on the proposals is supposed to continue through the summer before recommendations are put to the cabinet in September.

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