The fate of the Welsh language school in the holiday homes hotspot will be decided next week


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Ysgol Abersoch School

Gareth Wyn Williams, local democracy journalist

The fate of a Welsh-language primary school will be sealed next week amid claims the closure will turn the holiday home’s hotspot into a ‘ghost town’ for bits and pieces of the year.

Just ahead of its 100th anniversary after opening in 1924, Ysgol Abersoch will close at the end of 2021 if approved by the consultancy firm.

If members approve the officers’ recommendation, the eight full-time students and two kindergarten students will receive free transportation to Ysgol Sarn Bach from January.

The school currently costs the authority £ 17,404 per person, according to calculators, more than four times the county average of £ 4,198.

But the closure was criticized by groups such as Cymdeithas yr Iaith, who described Gwynedd’s council approach as “flashed” and that Abersoch was already suffering from a vacation home problem.

A recent consultation drew over 200 responses as well as two separate petitions, each containing 1,115 and 1,884 signatures against the school closure.

One respondent claimed that leaving Abersoch without a primary school would make it “a vacation spot for tourists for a few months a year and a ghost town for the rest”.

Another said: “Without school, Abersoch has no focal point, heart and soul will be gone.”

‘Not easy’

The school can accommodate 32, but only operates a quarter of its capacity as the village has 783 full-time residents, with projections showing that the number of students would increase only slightly in the years to come. .

In addition, it was reported that of the 26 eligible children living in the service area, 21 are currently attending schools other than Abersoch.

Cllr Cemlyn Williams, cabinet member of the Gwynedd Council for Education, said: “Making a decision about the future of a school is not easy and we fully understand that it has been a difficult time for all who are linked to school.

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the discussions on the future of Ysgol Abersoch, including the students, staff and governors, as well as those who contributed to the statutory consultation and opposition periods.

“It’s always sad when the future of a school is under consideration. However, we have a duty to ensure that we provide the best possible education and experiences as well as the best possible learning environment.

“After fully considering all objections, it is recommended to confirm the proposal to close Ysgol Abersoch at the end of 2021.

“There is naturally a will in Abersoch to see the school continue, and everything will be done so that there is a strong link between the community and Ysgol Sarn Bach.

‘Imprudent’

The school currently educates children up to the age of eight before their transfer to Ysgol Sarn Bach, based 2.2 km away.

But any closure would see children receiving their entire primary education at Sarn Bach.

Speaking in June, cabinet member Ioan Thomas said it “made no sense” for a school to educate only children up to the age of eight, while stressing the wide gap between expenditure per student and others.

But Cllr Dewi Wyn Roberts, who represents Abersoch in authority, has consistently opposed the closure, saying it would result in the loss of an “historic resource” in the village.

“Recently, I was listening to the planning committee discussing the construction of 12 houses in the Penygroes region and the fact that there is a local demand for this type of development for the local population,” he added.

“One of the concerns raised was the ability of local schools to accept more children, which will increase with this development. It highlights the fact that resources within the company are important in future plans.

“This decision is totally contrary to the Council’s ambition.

“The decision to close the school is not a good one but closing the school in the middle of the school year and moving the children to another school does not make sense and will have a negative impact on the education of the children, if it has to close then why not postpone it to the end of the school year?

A decision is expected at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 28.


Sylvester L. Goldfarb

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