Schools review put back to after election

Decisions on reorganising primary schools in the Llanfyllin catchment area will now be taken by the new Powys Council administration after May’s council election.

Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain Church In Wales Primary School. Picture: Google street view
Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain Church In Wales Primary School. Picture: Google street view

Last December plans to consult on closure proposals for Ysgol Bro Cynllaith in Llansilin, Llangedwyn and Llanfechain Church in Wales primary schools were stopped.

The decision came after a feasibility study that looked at extending Llansantffraid Church in Wales primary school, to take the extra pupils, found it was not a viable proposal.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s cabinet today councillors were given an update on the school’s reorganisation situation in the area.

Head of transformation and communication Emma Palmer told councillors that the feasibility study on extending Llansantffraid had caused a “rethink in the area.”

Ms Palmer said: “The workload has been significant based on a number of reports brought to cabinet in recent weeks, so we’ve not been able to conclude work in the area.

“I need to make it very clear that work in this area has not ceased, we’re continuing the work and looking at broader opportunities.”

She added that part of this included looking at different funding models for school building proposals.

Ms Palmer said: “The team will continue to work on this during the election period.”

“We will need to evaluate all options and put them on the table for the new administration later this year.

Schools’ transformation manager Marianne Evans confirmed that “really positive discussions” had started, and that Church in Wales school places would be a “critical element” to look at.

Ms Evans added that schools in Four Crosses and others on the border with England would also be part of discussions.

Council leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris said: “It’s very important we get this right, there’s such a lot of money involved.”

Bro Cynllaith and Llangedwyn primary schools are in the ward of finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies, he said: “When cabinet considered Churchstoke (primary school) a number of months ago, there was a commitment to look at Wales and England cross-border issues.

“I know you can see the border from the windows of a couple of the schools.

“It’s important that we make sure that all children have the opportunity to benefit from the exciting new Welsh curriculum.”

Ms Palmer confirmed that this work would be done.

Education portfolio holder Cllr Phyl Davies added that it was important that the work moved “at pace” and that the cabinet recognised that transformation “is needed” in the area.

The cabinet voted to note that progress is being made.

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