School closure would be an “Unprecedented Assault on a Community and Welsh-medium education”

Cymdeithas yr Iaith have called upon Powys County Council to withdraw immediately its threat to close the Welsh-medium village school in Carno, claiming that  any such action would be an “unprecedented assault on a community and on Welsh-medium education”. The proposed “receiving school”, Ysgol Llanbrynmair, could accommodate less than half of the 46 pupils of Ysgol Carno and so the community of children would be split up. In practical terms, over half the pupils would therefore be forced out of Welsh-medium education as the alternatives to the east are either English-medium schools or a dual-stream school the Welsh stream of which is almost full. Forcing nearly 30 pupils into the Llanidloes Catchment Area would also have a knock-on effect on the viability of Ysgol Bro Dyfi as these pupils would then be lost to this secondary school in Machynlleth.

In a message to Coun Myfanwy Alexander, Powys Portfolio holder for Learning and Leisure, Cymdeithas Education spokesperson Ffred Ffransis says “I have never seen such a situation where it is the express policy of a Council recommendation to break up a community and force the majority of pupils out of Welsh-medium education. Do you really think that this is the way to pacify ESTYN who have been so critical of the performance of Powys Education Authority ?”

Mr Ffransis continues “There is no possible excuse for this recommendation as the much-favoured notional cost-per-pupil is less at Ysgol Carno than the Powys average. The fact that pupil numbers have been rising rapidly over 4 years despite the perceived threat from the LEA demonstrates the loyalty of the community to the school which is its Welsh-language focus right on the edge of the Welsh-speaking area. There are now only 10 empty spaces at the school, and this is projected to be reduced to just 5 empty places within 18 months. We call on you to immediately lift this threat of closure and enter into meaningful discussions with parents and governors.”