School merger in Llanfair Caereinion set to be approved

Proposals to merge a secondary and primary school into an all-through four-to-18-year old school were supported by 52 per cent of the people who took part in a consultation on the proposal.

Caereinion High School in Llanfair Caereinion. Photo: Google Maps
Caereinion High School in Llanfair Caereinion. Photo: Google Maps

At Powys County Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 12, councillors are set to discuss the process of amalgamating the schools.

The report by education officer, Marianne Evans, said: “Based on the findings of the consultation, the advice is that the council should proceed with the proposal to amalgamate Llanfair Caereinion County Primary School, and Caereinion High School, to establish a new all-age school by publishing a statutory notice.

“It is anticipated that statutory notices will be published before the end of January 2021, and that a further report, summarising any objections received, will be considered by the cabinet before the end of March 2021.”

If the process goes smoothly, the council expect that they can close the schools on August 31, 2022 and open the all through school on September 1, 2022.

The report also adds that if the schools merge, the council expects a saving to be made of £11,994 a year.

The consultation on the proposal took place between October 13 and November 24, 2020.

Online meetings

Meetings were also held online with the staff, governors and pupils of both schools.

Of 111 respondents to the online consultation, 58 (52.3 per cent) agreed with the proposal.

The consultation brought up comments on the expectation in the past which included the “disappointment” that a 2b category school had not been in created at Caereinion by 2020.

The Welsh Government defines a category 2b school as one where “At least 80 per cent of subjects excluding Welsh and English are taught through the medium of Welsh and English. ”

PCC said: “The council accepts that it has not delivered on the commitment made in its WESP (Welsh in Education Strategic Plan) 2017 – 2020 to develop a new designated Welsh medium secondary school in the Severn Valley area but will be taking a phased approach to the development of Welsh-medium provision in Llanfair Caereinion.

“If the outcome of this is the need to change the school’s language category, a further statutory process would be required to implement this.”

If the cabinet approves the report, discussions on how to improve Welsh medium education provision is set to “accelerate.”

Discussion will take place with the wider community as well as all the feeder primary schools from nearby villages in the Caereinion High school catchment area.

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