Gwynedd schools: Groeslon, Carmel and Fron closures given go-ahead

A young protester at Groeslon primary school Pupils and parents have called for repairs to Ysgol Groeslon

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Proposals to close three Gwynedd primary schools and create a £4.8m school in their place have been given the go-ahead by the council's cabinet.

A consultation was held over closing Ysgol Groeslon, Ysgol Carmel and Ysgol Bronyfoel at Fron and creating an "area school" at Groeslon near Caernarfon.

The changes aim to tackle falling pupil numbers and out-dated buildings.

If objections to the plans are received, the matter will go to the Welsh government for a final decision.

But the local authority said the plan was the best long-term option and would be more likely to attract Welsh government cash.

Coun Sian Gwenllian, Gwynedd council's cabinet member for education, said careful consideration was given to questions raised in the consultation before the council approved the school closures.

Start Quote

Whilst it is understandable that this decision will not please everyone, it is important to remember that this is an opportunity for us to develop a new £4.8m area school”

End Quote Sian Gwenllian Gwynedd councillor

"Whilst it is understandable that this decision will not please everyone, it is important to remember that this is an opportunity for us to develop a new £4.8m area school which will provide the children of Groeslon, Carmel and Y Fron with a first class learning environment," she added.

The report before councillors on Tuesday said that the Ysgol Carmel and and Bronyfeol areas were both close to Y Groeslon and also fell within the catchment area for the bilingual secondary school Ysgol Uwchradd Dyffryn Nantlle.

It noted that the condition of the building at Ysgol Groeslon, which has seen pupils numbers drop from 107 to 75 since 1975, had deteriorated with some pupils now taught in mobile units.

A statutory consultation was held with staff, governors and parents of each school.

The report said the three schools had more than 100 surplus places between them, more than 40% of their capacity.

Welsh language

It said other options like a multi-site school would not be as good as a purpose-built one because maintenance costs would be higher and it would be less likely to win Welsh government finance.

An independent assessment of the proposals' effect on the use of Welsh locally concluded that a single school site would "offer opportunities for promoting and strengthening the Welsh language both educationally and within the community".

The council cabinet meeting was to decide whether or not to issue a statutory notice on the proposals.

Statutory notices will be published soon and the matter will then be submitted to the council cabinet to confirm the proposal if no formal objections have been received.

If formal objections are received, the matter will be transferred to Education Minister Leighton Andrews for a final decision.

The plans are part of a county-wide reorganisation in response to falling pupil numbers and school buildings which require modernisation.

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