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Principle of reorganising schools in Llanfyllin/North Welshpool approved

POWYS County Council’s Liberal Democrat/Labour Cabinet is ploughing ahead and have agreed the principle of reorganising primary schools in the Llanfyllin and North Welshpool high school catchment areas.

At a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 26 the case for change was explained to senior councillors.

Education portfolio holder Liberal Democrat, Cllr Pete Roberts said that in recent decades there had been a population shift away from small to bigger villages or people completely leaving this part of northern Powys to live elsewhere.

This leaves a legacy of a large number of primary schools relative to the size of its population.

Cllr Pete Roberts

Cllr Roberts said that some of the highest levels of spare school place capacity in the county is in this catchment area with one school: “approaching 70 per cent.”

Cllr Roberts said: “In that context a detailed review of the catchment has taken place incorporating the proposed housing developments and come up with the model before us today.”

School’s transformation manager, Marianne Evans said: “What you have here is a 10 year transformation programme for this area.

“This is the preferred way forward.

“We’ve looked at this in terms of groups of schools.”

She explained that the changes would need to be “phased,” which would see separate proposal to close schools brought in front of Cabinet.

Ms Evans said: “There are interdependencies between the schools.

“We need to do certain things first to see which school’s pupils then attend.”

For Llangedwyn, Llanfechain and Llansantffraid Church in Wales primary schools the proposal is:

To close Llangedwyn with pupils supposed to transfer to Llanfechain.

Llangedwyn Church In Wales Primary School

The council would then explore with Llansantffraid and Llanfechain the possibility of establishing a dual sited school in the area, and eventually provide a new school building.

For Ysgol Bro Cynllaith (Llansilin), Ysgol Pennant (Penybontfawr) and Ysgol Llanrhaeadr the proposal is that Ysgol Pennant and Ysgol Llanrhaeadr continue to operate as standalone schools.

Ysgol Llanrhaeadr would be supported to move along the Welsh language continuum – and possibly become a Welsh medium primary school in the future.

In the future the possibility of establishing a dual sited school would also be explored.

The proposal is to close Ysgol Bro Cynllaith with pupils supposed to transfer to Ysgol Llanrhaeadr.

Ysgol Bro Cynllaith – Llansilin (Pic: Ann Edwards)

For Brynhafren (Crew Green) Ardleen School, Carreghofa (Llanymynech) primary schools and Llandysilio (Four Crosses) Church in Wales primary school the proposal is:

To close Brynhafren C.P. School with their pupils to transfer to their nearest alternative schools in Powys.

Ysgol Bryn Hafren in Crew Green new pic (Pic: Google Streetview)

Arddleen Carreghofa and Llandysilio will then explore the possibility of merging as one school with the potential of a new school building at a later stage establishing Welsh-medium early years/primary provision in the area will also be investigated.

The last grouping is Llanfyllin and Meifod and the proposal is:

A new campus for Ysgol Llanfyllin school replacing all the current buildings – as well as support to move along the Welsh language continuum.

Options for Ysgol Meifod would also be considered alongside the building development in Llanfyllin.

Councillors voted in favour of the principle of reorganising the catchment area.

It is expected that reports closing Llangedwyn Church in Wales and Bryhafren primary school to be in front of Cabinet next month.

A report on the future of Ysgol Bro Cynllaith in Llansilin is then expected to be brought forward in early 2024.