North West Wales

Closure or merger plans for Conwy schools published

Plans to close or merge a number of primary schools in Conwy have been published.

Thirty six out of 61 schools in the county are affected by the plans.

There are 1,900 empty places in Conwy schools and the council said the proposals could see 36 schools reduced to 17 if its preferred options go ahead.

The plans are being put out for consultation until September allowing parents to have a say.

In common with many local authorities across Wales, the council says some of its schools are in old buildings which need modernising.

Its plans for the next few years include different options for each area.

The council says schools could be merged, both in rural areas like the Conwy Valley as well as in urban areas like Llandudno Junction.

In many cases, one site would stay open with other nearby schools effectively closing.

If all the council's first choice options went ahead, it would mean children from up to nine smaller villages would have to travel elsewhere to school.

The council is also proposing to merge a number of infant and junior schools with a single head teacher.

Councillor Wyn Jones, head of education in Conwy, said the plans follow a long consultation.

"We've been on this project now for over two years," he said.

"We've consulted with communities, we've had several road shows, we've had meetings with communities in schools and in their specific areas.

"We've distributed a consultation document to 55,000 homes which we've had a good response to and that's led us up to this point now."

But not everybody is happy about the proposals.

David Dallimore is a parent and governor at Ysgol Trefriw in the Conwy Valley, which has about 50 pupils.

The council's first option is to close it with two others, relocating pupils to a new area school at Dolgarrog.

Have their say

Mr Dallimore said the closure would be "devastating" for the village.

"We've lost a lot of facilities as many rural villages have over the years and I think the closure of the school would be dreadful for the village particularly in terms of attracting young families," he said.

"We're already quite an elderly population with a lot of second homes and I think without a school it would make matters worse."

There is also a plan to review another 13 schools in a second phase in two to five years time.

Conwy council said it will continue to consult with parents and staff, who can have their say between now and October when the plan is officially adopted.

There will have to be a separate consultation before any school is closed.

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