MOUNTON House, Monmouthshire's only state-run special school, is facing the threat of closure, the Free Press can reveal.

Papers for a full Monmouthshire County Council cabinet meeting on March 6 include a proposal "to consult on the closure of Mounton House Special School".

This proposal follows information from a well-placed source who told the Free Press the local authority was deliberating on the school's closure.

Mounton House, located in Pwllmeyric, Chepstow, currently provides day and residential placements for up to 42 boys aged 11-16 who have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Some of the school's students attend from outside Monmouthshire.

News that the school could close represents the second dramatic change in the local authority's policy towards Mounton House in the past 12 months.

In April last year, the county council announced a formal consultation with plans to close Mounton House as an institution, but to re-open the site as a larger, more expansive special school for boys and girls aged 3-19.

But a spokesman for Monmouthshire County Council said those plans had been shelved in the autumn of 2018.

The second change in council policy towards Mounton House was announced in late January this year, when Monmouthshire's children and young people (CYP) select committee announced proposed changes to the school's funding formula.

Citing falling pupil numbers – in January the school had just 21 students on its roll – the committee proposed slashing Mounton House's funding by £275,000.

This money would not have been redistributed among the county's other schools, but would have instead been used to "close the gap on the wider Monmouthshire County Council budget for 2019-20", the committee confirmed at its February 21 meeting.

But following that meeting, the Free Press was told the council was instead considering closing Mounton House.

The local authority declined to comment on what would happen to the Mounton House site if the school closed.

It is also unclear what will happen – if the school does close – to the staff and students.

In May 2018, amid plans for a bigger special school on the Mounton House site, the CYP committee's chief officer, Will McLean, said existing students had been reassured their education would continue at Mounton House.

At that same committee meeting, Mr McLean said it had been made clear to out-of-county partners that the school would continue as a day school and the children who attended Mounton House from outside Monmouthshire wouldn’t be moved from their placement.

A council spokesman said the local authority had taken the decision "not to progress with the proposed changes", but would not say if the most recent developments now meant the committee would renege on the assurances made in May 2018.

He added there could not be any further comment until the March 6 cabinet meeting.