Machynlleth super-school plan backed and Llandinam primary saved
A new super-school for pupils aged four to 18 is to be created in Powys, while a county primary threatened with closure has won a reprieve.
Powys council's cabinet voted to merge Machynlleth primary and secondary schools and save Llandinam school as part of a shake-up of education.
The two Machynlleth schools will remain on separate sites in the town but will have a single governing body.
The council said there was no guarantee it would save money if Llandinam shut.
The authority has been reviewing schools as part of a modernisation project to cut costs and tackle surplus places.
End Quote Myfanwy Alexander Powys council
The new school will have a single governing body and senior leadership team providing an excellent opportunity for developing high-quality and sustainable education in the Machynlleth area”
Last year it closed 10 primary schools and built four new replacements in the Maesydderwen catchment area in and around Ystradgynlais.
The review has now switched to the Llanidloes and Machynlleth catchment areas.
The council said the new "spilt site" super school in Machynlleth, the first in the county, would open on 1 August next year.
Myfanwy Alexander, cabinet member for learning, said: "The historic decision to create Powys' first ever 4-18 through school will ensure sustainable, high quality education for four to 18 year olds in Machynlleth and the Dyfi Valley area.
"The new school will have a single governing body and senior leadership team providing an excellent opportunity for developing high-quality and sustainable education in the Machynlleth area. It will be a vital component in allowing local people to live their lives in Welsh if they choose."'Disruption'
She said the new bilingual school would have 690 pupils.
In Llandinam, there had been concerns about falling pupil numbers and the cost of education which was more than £900 above the county average, claimed the council.
"The cabinet considered a number of options including closing Llandinam Primary School and nearby Caersws Primary School and establishing a new school on the Caersws site or federating both schools," said Ms Alexander.
"However, the options would involve considerable amount of work as well as disruption to both schools and communities with no guarantee of achieving higher educational standards or producing financial savings."
The cabinet agreed to monitor pupil numbers at Llandinam and said it would review the situation if they fell below a threshold of 35.
The school is expected to have 58 pupils by next Easter.