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Primary school set to close despite opposition from local residents

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Friday, Apr 6th, 2018.

A primary school in the Glyn Ceiriog is set to close next year despite opposition and criticism from local residents.

Members of the executive board will next week discuss plans to press ahead with the closure of Ysgol Pontfadog due to it being “unsustainable”.

If the plans are approved by councillors the last intake for nursery / reception pupils at the school will by in September 2018, with the school closing on 22nd July 2019.

Currently there are three schools within the Federation, one Welsh medium in Ysgol Llanarmon, one English medium in Ysgol Pontfadog and one dual stream in Ysgol Cynddelw.

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”.

To help identify the the future education provision of the Federation schools, in July 2017 Wrexham Council agreed to launch a public consultation on the following three options:

– Retain the status quo with all three schools remaining as they are currently.
– Change language designation at Ysgol Cynddelw to Welsh medium.
– Propose closure of Ysgol Pontfadog and re-locate pupils to the Cynddelw dual stream site.

In a report due before councillors next week it explained that there are 18 pupils accessing Ysgol Pontfadog, which is not seen as a sustainable model.

Wrexham Council say that there is a “requirement to make teaching and learning as effective and
as efficient as possible whilst enhancing the learning experiences of the pupils in larger social groups.”

However the proposed closure of the school has been met with fierce opposition by local residents, with some accusing Wrexham Council of showing ‘systematic direct discrimination against those selecting the English medium’.

A total of 253 responses were made to the consultation process, with comments ranging from segregation of children and discrimination through language.

But next week’s report states that Wrexham Council disagrees with the statements, noting: “The proposal does not discriminate against any individual with protected characteristics.

“An Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) was been undertaken at the start of the consultation.”

Other concerns include the impact on local shops and residents wanting a school that belongs to the village.

However other responses argued that closing Ysgol Pontfadog will be better for “community integration”.

A decision over the future of Ysgol Pontfadog will be made by executive board members at 10am on Tuesday 10th April.

If the report is approved, statutory notices will be published in May (where is not specified) and the school will close at the end of the summer term in July 2019.

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