Pupil protest can't save Pontypool school
10:41am Tuesday 20th May 2014 in Pontypool news
TORFAEN council cabinet members have agreed to close Pontnewynydd Primary School next year at an extraordinary meeting of councillors.
Pupils from Pontnewynydd Primary School held a protest outside the Civic Centre yesterday to urge cabinet members to save their school.
A consultation on the proposals to close the school and to house the pupils at the Penygarn Primary School building ran from November to December last year.
But the council released an updated document in March following suggestions from parents that the documents were inaccurate.
The consultation threw up a number of concerns about the proposal that were addressed at the meeting.
Council officers reassured cabinet members that they are confident that with reconfiguration of the Penygarn Primary School building it can accommodate the pupils from September 2015.
But the deputy leader, Cllr Lewis Jones, said he had “serious doubts”.
There were no commitments made by the council on whether staff will all be offered posts following the closure.
Officers reported that traffic congestion in and around Penygarn Primary School was not expected to increase.
But Cllr Jones added: “There is a serious issue of congestion and a risk of injury outside of the school.”
The future of the TV studio equipment at Pontnewynydd is currently unknown, although officers said that the council wouldn’t want to lose such a facility.
Parents also questioned if the canteen had space as Penygarn school already operates three meal sittings.
Cllr Jones said that this resulted in some children “not receiving the hot food that they were entitled to”.
But officers are confident that with change it can be achieved.
Supporting the proposal, executive member for education, Cllr Brian Mawby, said: “We need to close schools that are unsustainable in order to invest in schools that are. We know there are issues around Penygarn but we can address these with the money recovered from the school closure.”
Following approval from cabinet members, statutory notices will be published to close Pontnewynydd Primary School and disperse pupils to neighbouring schools from September 1, 2015.
Members will receive a further report in September 2014 after the end of the statutory notice period with a view to making a recommendation on how to proceed.
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