THE closure of a “successful, happy, high achieving and full primary school” has been confirmed - despite hundreds of objections to the plan.

At a meeting on Tuesday, March 8, the Independent/Conservative cabinet of Powys County Council voted in favour of continuing the process of closing Llanbedr Church in Wales primary school in the Vale of Grwyney, close to the Monmouthshire border.

Closing the school will save the council £39,000, with the closure expected to happen at the end of August.

But there had been widespread opposition to the plan, with 349 objections lodged with the council.

Local county councillor John Morris spoke against the closure, he said: “This is a pivotal day for Powys County Council, and also for the communities we serve.

“The recommendation is to close a successful, high achieving, happy and full school, based on a report using outdated evidence and an unproven assumption that it’s pupils will be better off elsewhere despite the fact they will be split up from their friends and siblings to attend schools as much as 15 miles further away.”

Pointing to schools in the finance portfolio holder Cllr Aled Davies’ ward, Cllr Morris said: “The council is to keep open schools elsewhere that are much smaller with higher empty places and per pupil cost of up to £11,000,

“The education portfolio holder (Cllr Phyl Davies) in a press release sent out prior to when the agenda papers were released, highlights that closure is in the best interest of the learner.

“I seriously beg to differ on that.”

“There is no logical argument to close this treasure of a Powys school.”

Responding, Cllr Davies said: “We have a report on schools in my area later on the agenda, it’s not as though we are ignoring some areas, we are looking at all schools across Powys.”

Education portfolio holder, Cllr Phyl Davies said: “This is still classed as a small school and as we have heard from many of our educationalists it will struggle to deliver that curriculum based on the resource it has.”

Head of transformation and communications, Emma Palmer told the councillors that the nearest school for 61 per cent of pupils currently at Llanbedr is in Crickhowell.

Ms Palmer added that, as of January, the number of pupils at Llanbedr was 43, and when nursery and Year 6 are added to the total, that figure rises to 52.

Ms Palmer explained that “there is capacity and enough room” to take the Llanbedr pupils in the other schools in the catchment area.

She added that there were also “informal discussions” now under way to create an all through school in Crickhowell.

Ms Palmer said: “On balance it was considered that discontinuing Llanbedr church in Wales school was the most appropriate response to reasons identified to formulating the proposal.”

The reasons given for closing the school are:

To address the issue of low pupil numbers;

To reduce the council’s overall surplus capacity in primary schools;

To make financial savings for the council;

To enable pupils to attend larger schools, which would be better equipped to meet the requirements of the new curriculum and can also provide a wider range of educational and extra-curricular opportunities;

To rationalise the primary school estate.