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Primary school closure branded ‘appalling’ by local MP

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Aug 9th, 2018.

A decision to close a primary school in the Ceiriog Valley has been branded “appalling” by a local MP.

On Tuesday Wrexham.com reported that executive board members had unanimously voted in favour of ‘discontinuing’ Ysgol Pontfadog from September 2019.

In a debate lasting almost three hours, members of the public and several councillors made impassioned calls on the council to vote against the proposed closure of the school.

Currently 18 pupils attend the school, however Wrexham Council say there has been a drop in pupil numbers at both Ysgol Pontfadog and Ysgol Cynddelw schools due to a “growing Welsh medium demand in the valley”.

Following a public consultation and statutory notice period it was recommended that Ysgol Pontfadog was closed, with pupils relocating to the dual-stream site at Ysgol Cynddelw two miles away.

However such pleas did little to change the mind of Cllr Phil Wynn, lead member for education, who on Tuesday said: “Nothing has been spoken today that has made me change my mind that the recommendations I’m making is not the sound one.”

The decision to press ahead with the closure has come under strong criticism from Clwyd South MP, Susan Elan Jones, who said the executive board had “chose to ignore the views of pretty much everyone who lives in the Ceiriog Valley.”

Ms Jones continued: “A huge number of people took part in the Council’s consultation process and local campaigners are right to be furious. Ysgol Pontfadog should not be closed.

“The appalling decision fails on two counts – it closes Ysgol Pontfadog and it fails to give Glyn Ceiriog the fully Welsh-medium school it needs.

“Ysgol Pontfadog should have been retained as an English-medium school, Ysgol Llanarmon DC as a Welsh-medium school with Ysgol Cynddelw, Glyn Ceiriog becoming a fully Welsh-medium school.

“The executive board of Wrexham County Borough Council has treated the communities of the Ceiriog Valley shamefully.

“If local residents now feel that their interests would be best served outside Wrexham County Borough Council area by becoming part of another local authority area I will back them totally.”

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates has also spoken out against the council’s decision.

During this week’s meeting there appeared to be confusion over whether Mr Skates had made representations opposing the proposed school closure.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Mr Skates said: “The council asked for people’s opinions on their proposals and the people of the Ceiriog Valley responded in their numbers and have made their feelings quite clear.

“I have made repeated representations to Wrexham Council on behalf of my constituents and completely understand their frustration.”

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