THE DECISION on the future of Ysgol Llanbedr, near Ruthin, will not be made until September , which means the school must stay open for the first term of the new school year.
Following a consultation process, Denbighire County Council’s Cabinet confirmed in January its intention to close the village school, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary earlier this year.
The governing body of Ysgol Llanbedr and the Church in Wales Diocese of St Asaph referred the local authority’s decision to the Welsh Ministers for consideration on April 16 and have been waiting for a decision since that time.
Clwyd West AM, Darren Millar, recently wrote to the education minister Huw Lewis asking him to bring the uncertainty to an end so that parents and staff could plan for the start of the new school year in September.
The minister has responded by indicating that he will not be in a position to determine the future of the school until after the summer holidays.
The minister states: “In general it is considered less than ideal to issue decisions during the school holidays, and I am most likely to issue my decision in the first weeks of the new term in September.
“This means of course that the school will remain open for at least another term and this is of course without prejudice to my final decision.”
Mr Millar, who had been campaigning alongside parents, local residents and the Church in Wales, to save the school, said:
“The Minister has informed me that it will not be possible to issue the decision before the end of term on July 18th.
“This is very disappointing for all the parents and pupils who have been waiting for months for a final decision on this.
“This has dragged on for long enough now and while I appreciate that issuing a decision in the school holidays is not ideal, parents, pupils and staff now face a whole summer of uncertainty. They have waited long enough already, it is unfair to prolong this any further.
“If the Minister decides in September that the school should close, then parents, pupils and staff will face huge upheaval during the school year – that’s not good for them and could have a detrimental impact on pupil achievement. It is a great shame that they are in this position in the first place and that the pleas of local residents and councillors were not sufficient to persuade Denbighshire to keep this fantastic school open.”