Council under fire over plans to close Welsh language school in village dominated by second homes


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Ysgol Abersoch

Gwynedd council has been criticized by language activists for pushing to close a Welsh language school in a village dominated by second homes.

Council heads will be asked to issue a statutory notice to shut down the 10 Ysgol Gynradd Abersoch pupils by the end of the year.

The school sits in the heart of one of the coastal communities hardest hit by the housing crisis in Wales, with properties selling for up to £ 3million and even semi-detached family homes costing up to £ 500. 000 pounds sterling.

The school can accommodate 34 but is operating at 24% of its capacity. Projections show that the number of students will reach only 12 by 2023.

But Cymdeithas yr Iaith accused Gwynedd Council of being “irrelevant” in its proposal, which will be heard by Council Cabinet a week today.

If the Council refuses to change its mind, the school could close at the end of 2021, and the students of the school transferred to Ysgol Sarn Bach.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith spokesman Ffred Ffransis said the decision to close Ysgol Abersoch was “entirely predictable” as the local community “never had confidence” that the Council would listen to the consultation.

“In their blind approach, officials say none of the alternative proposals would solve the problem of the small number of students and the resulting cost per student of education,” he said.

“We accept that the number is particularly low mainly due to the fact that children have to leave school at the age of eight, and a lack of housing and accommodation policies, as well as a lack of economic development. balanced have meant that there are few young permanent residents. in the village.”

But he added that “cooperation with other schools would offer obvious opportunities to increase the number of classes, especially since a neighboring school is overcrowded.”

“The governors of Abersoch could also be voluntary partners in a project to extend the educational experience of all pupils in the region by developing a” Ysgol Traeth a Natur “(” Beach and school of nature “) on the Abersoch site, ”he said.

“Better education”

Speaking about the decision to issue statutory notice to close the school, Cllr Cemlyn Williams, cabinet member of the Gwynedd Council for Education, said: The future of any school.

“Special attention was given to all of the options offered and I am grateful to everyone who contributed.

“Bringing forward this report is not something we take lightly, but we have a duty to ensure that we provide the best possible education and experiences as well as the best possible learning environment for our children.

“After evaluating all options in detail, and given projections that the number of students at the school will remain worrisome for years to come, the recommendation is that Ysgol Abersoch should close at the end of 2021.

“Naturally there has been a desire in the village to see the school continue, and every effort will be made to ensure that there will be a strong bond between the Abersoch community and Ysgol Sarn Bach where many students attend. already the age of Key Stage 2.. “

However, the most recent consultation period continued to see widespread local opposition, with 154 responses received.

Local councilor, Dewi Wyn Roberts, noted in his response: “While I believe it is impossible to have full and fair consultation in the circumstances of Covid, the consultation is clear that there is a clear objection when the school closes and if it goes in advance it is contrary to the wishes of the community, including children, parents, residents, school staff, community council, local member and the deputy.

“As a result, it is easy here to see that the matter is a done deal, which is a great shame.”

Additional reporting by Gareth Williams of the Local Democracy Service.


Sylvester L. Goldfarb