At Powys County Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, January 12, councillors approved pushing forward with the process of amalgamating Llanfair Caereinion Primary School and Caereinion High School
The cabinet looked at the findings of a consultation which took place between in October and November on the merger proposal.
Only 52 per cent of those who responded were in favour.
Comments submitted as part of the consultation, showed some scepticism, and pointed out that there had been an expectation that Caereinion High School would become a category 2b school by 2020.
This means that at least 80 per cent of subjects excluding Welsh and English are taught through in both Welsh and English.
Providing more Welsh language education as part of future discussions on education in the area will now also take place.
Councillor Gareth Jones said: “This is an exciting opportunity for the community, and we are ready to embrace it.
“It was no real surprise to me when we saw how close the consultation was in relation to the concerns on the Welsh language.
“The Welsh language is and always has been very sensitive in the community of Llanfair, but I would like to give assurances that the governing bodies are willing to engage to secure the Welsh language.
“We have already started on this road and if this is passed it will be the first step of a long journey which will be beneficial to education and the language.”
Education consultant, Geraint Rees said that the decision in front of cabinet was about the merger proposal while discussion on more education in Welsh at the schools was a debate for the future.
Mr Rees said: “Caereinion has historically provided education in both Welsh and English, the growth we have in Welshpool, Dafydd Llwyd (Newtown).
“Llanfair hopefully will be able to provide strong coordination with them to ensure that young people can transition through secondary, and have all benefits of the wide curriculum in Welsh.”
Finance portfolio holder, Councillor Aled Davies said: “It is so important if our youngsters have their primary school education through Welsh, they can carry on along that path and achieve many GCSE and A Levels, through the medium of Welsh.”
Adult Social Care and Welsh language portfolio holder, Councillor Myfanwy Alexander who lives in the town, said: “Llanfair Caereinion has always been known a stronghold of the Welsh language, and a centre for Welsh language education in the area.
“What we are doing is strengthening the management and use of resources in that strong point.”
“I believe this is an ideal point to take the journey of transformation forward.”
Statutory notices are expected to published before the end of January, and t a further report, summarising any objections received, will be looked at by the cabinet before the end of March.
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.