Rhosgoch school in Powys reprieved by minister

A primary school in Powys which was earmarked for closure has had a reprieve after a consultation run by the council was deemed to be flawed.

Pupils at Rhosgoch community school near Hay-on-Wye faced moving to a new school in September as part of plans to overhaul education in the county.

But Education Minister Leighton Andrews halted the plans as the consultation process "should have been better".

Powys council has been asked to comment.

The school was one of five threatened with closure in the Gwernyfed catchment area of Powys as part of plans to reduce surplus school places and reduce costs.

The council said the schools - Rhosgoch, Ffynnongynydd, Glasbury, Llanigon and Bronllys - were the smallest in the area with between 18 and 24 pupils on their school roll in January 2012.

It was also recommended that two new community primary schools be built at Hay-on-Wye and Talgarth.

However, 128 people signed a petition opposing the plans and 36 letters were received during a public consultation, raising concerns about problems with larger class sizes and increased travel times to school.

Mr Andrews has now stepped in to stop Rhosgoch school closing.

In a letter to Powys council, he said that while there was "sound educational merit" for the proposal, he could not let it go ahead because of problems with the consultation and subsequent information given to parents.

"The local authority itself has acknowledged that parents were not kept abreast of the changes made to the proposal prior to its publication," the letter said.

"The minister has therefore concluded that as the consultation was inadequate he must reject the proposal, its educational merits notwithstanding."

Rhosgoch Community Primary School has room for 59 pupils aged four to 11, along with eight full-time nursery places.

But in January 2012, it had 16 school pupils and one nursery pupil.

Powys council has been asked to comment.

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