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Council to move ahead with closing Llangedwyn Church in Wales primary school

Llangedwyn Church in Wales primary school which is set to be closed (Pic: Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporting Service)

A TINY primary school in the very north of Powys is set to close next summer after senior councillors backed the plans.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, October 10 senior Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors took the decision to start the formal legal process of closing Llangedwyn Church in Wales primary school on August 31, 2024.

The report shows that the school has nearly 81 per cent surplus spaces as it could accept to 47 pupils.

The budget share per pupil has been calculated as £12,625 the highest in the county and that it receives nearly three times the average spend per pupil in Powys, which is £4,729.

Pupils will be expected to transfer to Llanfechain Church in Wales primary school.

Since 2018, Llangedwyn has been part of the “Ffederasiwn Dwy Afon” (Two Rivers Federation) and shares a single governing body and headteacher with Llanfechain.

At the meeting school’s transformation manager Marianne Evans corrected the report by saying that school pupil numbers had gone up from nine to 10 since the data had been collected.

Ms Evans said: “The main challenge is low pupil numbers, this is an incredibly small school.”

“A school of this size is very precarious in terms of staffing levels to make sure it can open safely,

“The important thing is we maintain Church in Wales provision in the area.”

She added that due to the working relationship between the schools Llangedwyn pupils already visit Llanfechain once a week and are, “familiar and know their peers” there.

Cabinet member for a connected Powys, Liberal Democrat Cllr Jake Berriman said: “In many respects the situation here is not fair on pupils or teachers and is not sustainable.

“It’s surprising that it’s taken so long.”

Conservative group leader Cllr Aled Davies represents the area asked for children to be allowed to transfer to Llanfechain during the school year.

He said that children had been refused admittance to Llanfechain due to it being “full.”

Cllr Davies also reminded the cabinet that there is a £400,000 maintenance backlog at Llanfechain and asked if this would be addressed before pupils transfer over.

Ms Evans said that Llanfechain has 42 pupils with a capacity for 47.

With two Year Six pupils at Llangedwyn moving to high school next September Ms Evans explained that places for seven pupils are needed at Llanfechain.

Ms Evans said: “We know it’s tight and we will be working with the school and the diocese to understand the impact on pupil numbers.
“If you look at projections in Llanfechain over the next few years they are decreasing as well.

“Over time there will be enough space in the school.”

On the maintenance backlog Ms Evans said: “We recognise that work is required to Llanfechain, and we will be commissioning our property team to have a look at it and see what is required.”

Deputy council leader, Labour’s Cllr Matthew Dorrance noted that the Church in Wales comments  in the correspondence “are in support” of the proposal.

Cabinet unanimously supported going ahead with the closure process.