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Pre-school “infuriated” by closure process

 
Created on 08/05/2021 @ 09:20

 

A pre-school said it has been left “infuriated” by what it sees as Powys County County’s (PCC) refusal to engage with them as part of the consultation process to close Churchstoke Primary School.

Churchstoke Little Explorers claims that PCC’s refusal is “not giving us the opportunity to voice the concerns of our staff and parents or to have our questions answered”.

PCC has denied the accusation, saying that everyone has the opportunity to make their opinions known through the ongoing consultation process.

But in a statement to us, Churchstoke Little Explorers said the process was not “fair, clear and transparent”.

“Churchstoke Little Explorers are left infuriated as Powys County Council refuse to engage as part of the consultation process to close Churchstoke C.P. School,” a spokesperson told us.

“Churchstoke Little Explorers is the pre-school and after school club catering for children from the age of two years.

“We are situated in the grounds of Churchstoke School and share facilities such as; having dinner each day at the school so children can have a hot cooked meal, sharing green spaces for forest school activities, access to disabled facilities and sharing staff toilets. 

“Powys County Council state closure of the school “would not directly affect the early year’s provision”. However, if the school was to close, we would lose our site and facilities. We have worked hard over the last four years to build up our setting and ensure that it is a rich, nurturing environment where the children have the freedom to explore and develop to their full potential.

“We recently received a grant for £10,000 from Powys for the Childcare Offer small grants scheme which we have used to further develop our outdoor space. Powys Transformation Teams refusal to engage with us as a setting has left us angered as we feel they are not giving us the opportunity to voice the concerns of our staff and parents or to have our questions answered.

“We have 22 children currently attending our setting with the potential to increase with further housing developments in the area. These children have a right to a Welsh education from an early age and if we lose our Pre-school, they will lose this right! Not all parents drive and Powys do not provide transport for children of that age, so they will lose their education through no fault of their own.

“Closure of Churchstoke C.P. School will directly impact Churchstoke Little Explorers and we will lose our lovely Pre-school. Powys are not providing us with the fair, clear and transparent process that we deserve and this will affect the whole community.”

We asked PCC for a response and they sent us the same reply (below) that we were given last week when parents also criticised the refusal to hold a public consultation.

“It’s been just over two weeks since we launched the consultation on our proposal to close Churchstoke C.P. School, which still has over four weeks left until it closes. We have already received a large number of responses.

“All consultations around school proposals are held in accordance with the School Organisation Code. No meeting is being arranged for parents / the community as part of the consultation, this is in accordance with the requirements of the School Organisation Code which does not require meetings to be held as part of the consultation process.

“We will be meeting governors, school staff and learners to seek their views on our proposals.

“Parents and members of the community are able to respond to the consultation by either using the online response form, by email or by writing to us. Details can be found on how to take part by visiting www.powys.gov.uk/transformingeducation and going to Churchstoke C.P. School under Current Consultations.

“Those who would like a paper copy of the consultation document can contact the Transforming Education Team by phoning 01597 826618 or emailing school.organisation@powys.gov.uk

“All the responses and issues raised during the consultation period will be collated into a consultation report and responded to. The consultation report will be considered by Cabinet once the consultation closes.”


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