PLANS to close two Cwmbran schools moved a step closer as cabinet members vote in favour of proposals, while a project that could see three new primary schools in the borough also progressed.

The 21st Century Schools Programme highlighted surplus places would be reduced by closing Fairwater and Llantarnam secondary schools and establishing a refurbished new school.

In November 2013, the cabinet agreed to consult on a proposal to close both schools from September 2015 and the new school to be established on the Fairwater site.

The projected decline in pupil numbers in Fairwater and Llantarnam means that if both schools remain the schools finances will be in difficulty and the standard of education could suffer.

As the meeting started yesterday at the civic centre, pupils from Llantarnam School held banners against the proposal to close their school.

During the meeting, Cllr Gwyneira Clark raised concerns about children working in temporary cabins on the Fairwater site during the refurbishment works.

She was told that if cabin use can be avoided then it will be.

The executive member for children and young people, Cllr Brian Mawby, added an amendment that was voted through, that the council retain the use of the Llantarnam School site on a temporary basis in order to safeguard pupils during building work at the Fairwater site.

Cabinet members gave approval to published statutory notices at the schools and there will be an update in September 2014 on how to proceed with the proposal.

At the same meeting Torfaen cabinet also gave approval to progress the next phase of a project that will see three new primary schools in the borough.

The council will now submit the Full Business Case (FBC) to the Welsh Government for the next phase of Torfaen’s 21st Century Schools Programme.