A cabinet member has urged parents of a school doomed to close next year, to send their children to a soon to be merged primary and secondary school in Llanfair Caereinion.
At a Powys County Council meeting on Tuesday, November 23, members of the cabinet voted unanimously to close Castle Caereinion Church in Wales primary school at the end of August 2022.
In earlier meetings concerns were raised whether such a small school could implement the new Wales curriculum.
Llanfair Caereinion primary school and Caereinion High School will merge over the summer and when the all through school opens its doors in September 2022 – it will be known as Ysgol Bro Caereinion.
Adult social care and Welsh language portfolio holder Cllr Myfanwy Alexander urged parents to take their children to the merged schools.
Cllr Alexander a former head girl at Caereinion High School, said: “Many of the children currently attending Castle Caereinion will be within the catchment of a new all age school in Llanfair Caereinion.
“We know that the new curriculum will be able to be delivered more easily in all age schools and that why it’s part of our education transformation policy.
“With the best will in the world a small rural school can’t provide access to science labs (laboratories) or recreational facilities for sport.
“Those who move west from Castle Caereinion will be going to a bilingual school which will allow them to have access to Welsh provision that’s not currently available to them.
“Part of the provision of the new school is to allow enhanced Welsh learning for children in every stream, so there are new opportunities available for those young people.”
Cllr Alexander went on to endorse and approve the decision to close Castle Caereinion.
In past meetings, assurances had been given that parents who wish their children to continue attending a church school would be given free transport.
Welshpool Church in Wales primary school is the nearest one to Castle Caereinion
School transformation manager, Marianne Evans told councillors that the school had 24 pupils when the consultation had started in the spring, but according to the latest figures that number had now dropped to 17 pupils.
Ms Evans said: “We will be providing transport to Welshpool Church in Wales school for any pupil who wishes to.
“It will be done on a case-by-case basis and will be available to pupils currently at Castle Caereinion.”
Closing Castle Caereinion is supposed to save the council £58,100 a year.
But the transportation costs would offset this.
It is calculated that if 16 pupils attended Welshpool Church in Wales primary school from Castle Caereinion, this would cost Powys £32,700 a year.
In total 21 objections were received against the closure including one from the St Asaph diocese and Castle Caereinion community council.
A petition against the closure had been signed by 102 people had also been lodged.