‘Fight goes on’ for at-risk Pontnewynydd school
10:12am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
Making a stand Parents with pupils of Pontnewynydd Primary school outside the civic centre in Pontypool demonstrating against the proposed closure of the school (1214061)
PARENTS, pupils and staff from under-threat Pontnewynydd Primary School descended on mass on the Civic Centre in Pontypool yesterday to voice their opposition to plans which would see the school closed next year.
They held banners and delivered letters written by every child in the school to the council, but owing to a lack of space were unable to take their protest inside the council chamber.
Torfaen’s cabinet agreed last week to put plans to close the school out for public consultation as part of its 21st Century School initiative with a report on the first round of consultation coming back to cabinet on November 26.
The plans would recommend that the children are moved into Penygarn Primary School.
But in a clarification announced by the cabinet member for children and young people, Cllr Brian Mawby, the school will definitely be open next year.
In the original plans the school would close ahead of September 2014 but Cllr Mawby confirmed yesterday that this would have breached a previous council agreement not to make a decision on Penygarn and Pontnewynydd before 2015.
However he stressed a consultation on closing the school would still go ahead all be it a year late.
Pontnewynydd is Torfaen’s only current sector leading Primary school according to the school’s inspectorate Estyn who rated it outstanding in all but two fields, where it was rated good. As such it is currently officially Torfaen’s best performing Primary School.
It is that, along with question marks over how pupils would fit into the current set up at Penygarn that most upsets those fighting the closure.
The deputy leader of the council and Trevethin councillor Lewis Jones welcomed the delay but warned that it would not see supporters of the school allow its closure without a fight.
“The school is giving children a first class education and that has to be recognised,”Cllr Jones told the meeting of full council.
“We’ve heard a long debate this morning [on the proposals to build 124 new homes at the former Trevethin school site, which would use Penygarn and Pontnewynydd as its nearest primary school] and the concerns raised int hat debate about things like the road structure in this area.
“I still believe there’s a battle to be fought over this and as far as I’m concerned the fight goes on.”
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