Mid Wales

Plans to axe four Ceredigion schools are put on hold

Cilcennin school Image copyright Google
Image caption Cilcennin School has the lowest number of pupils and the highest percentage of surplus places in the catchment area

A decision on controversial plans to close four primary schools in Ceredigion has been put on hold while funding is explored.

Proposals could see Cilcennin, Ciliau Parc, Dihewyd and Felinfach schools shut and a new area school opened on the Felinfach theatre campus.

But some parents fear the proposed site has pollution from nearby factories and is "not safe" for children.

Councillors deferred a decision on the plans during a meeting on Tuesday.

Ceredigion council want more details on funding available from the Welsh Government before they decide on whether to close the schools.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Dihewyd School is a small school with 36 pupils

An informal consultation with parents, governors and carers highlighted concerns about the safety of the potential new school site at Felinfach Professional Education Centre.

Fears included:

  • Pollution from fumes from two nearby factories
  • Noise from lorries delivering materials to the biomass plans
  • The site is on a flood plain
  • Road has a 60mph speed limit
  • Building contains asbestos

Fears were also raised that closing village schools could damage communities, according to the council report.

Cabinet member for education Hag Harris said he appreciated parents' concerns, but that the new area building would not be a "second rate school".

He said: "This will be a really first class school as we have built previously in Ceredigion."

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Media captionDihewyd campaigner Hywel Ifans says school closure plans are a "difficult sell"

Options before the council had been to continue with the current situation of 10 schools; to close Cilcennin School; or to build a new area school for pupils of Ciliau Parc, Cilcennin, Dihewyd and Felinfach.

The preferred option would be to develop an area school in existing buildings on the Felinfach theatre campus.

The council is restructuring education, saying there are 1,000 fewer children in Ceredigion than a decade ago.

The four schools under threat have a total of 171 pupils.

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