Llanbedr parents will take fight to Cardiff


Shane Brennan

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Ysgol Llanbedr have vowed to take their fight all the way to Cardiff.

It follows yesterday’s decision by the cabinet of Denbighshire County Council to close the school.

This decision sees the council effectively wash its hands of the school as the final decision will be made in Cardiff .

Sian Jones, who has two children at Ysgol Llanbedr, said: “My family will continue to support Ysgol Llanbedr as we feel the decision is wrong and justice will prevail at the Welsh Assembly.”

Another of the parents, Tim Haywood, said: “As expected, the council have made the wrong decision. We are prepared to stay with the school and hope that the Welsh Assembly Government see sense and keep Ysgol Llanbedr open.”

Chair of the board of governors, Rev. Philip Chew said: “The whole proposal is absurd and Ysgol Llanbedr with all its supporters are resolute and will take the issue to the Welsh Minister for Education, where we hope that our issues will be considered by people who have vision and really do know what post-modern education looks like.

“The council likes to pride itself on making difficult decisions. The problem in this case is that they have made the wrong decision born out of their inability to listen to the people that they are supposed to serve.”

A final decision on whether to to keep the school open will now be down to the minister of education in Cardiff.

The supporters of the school will now have 28 days to make an appeal to the minister to save Ysgol Llanbedr.

The faith school still continues to have the support of the Diocese of St Asaph.

Rosalind Williams, head of education for the Diocese, said: “The numbers of pupils are going up and despite this decision today the Diocese remains committed to the school. The school has had 13 pupils confirmed for the nursery and seven admitted for the reception class next year.

“If the school had been in decline we would reluctantly support the council but as this school is flourishing we would want the school to continue to develop.

“There is a strong demand for faith education and as a diocese we support parents having that choice.”

The minister will consider whether the right procedures were followed to come to the decision to close the school and whether closure is the correct decision according to the school organisation code.

Cllr Eryl Williams who is the council’s lead member on education felt that the process of looking at the future of Ysgol Llanbedr had been thorough and correct.

He said: “I can honestly say with great integrity that we have followed the right procedures and done everything to look at this issue.”

Council leader Hugh Evans echoed this, saying: “It would be the easiest decision in the world for us not to make a decision on this school today.

“But if we don’t make a decision we wouldn’t be drawing down funding and improving standards in our schools.

“It is quite straightforward in terms of the numbers and that is why I support the lead member’s proposal.”

The decision to close the school was met with a scathing response from Clwyd West MP David Jones.
Mr Jones said: “I am dismayed at this decision.

“Ysgol Llanbedr is an important asset to the village and the wider area; the high quality of education which it delivers, coupled with its Christian ethos, is very highly valued by parents.

“I have significant concerns as to the process adopted by the local authority in deciding to close the school.

“I understand that the issue will now be referred to Welsh ministers and I propose to liaise with the school's governing body on further action.”

See full story in the Free Press

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