Welsh language school struggling for survival launches campaign to attract more pupils

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Ysgol Ysgol Llannefydd; Pictured are students Elysteg Owen-Casey, Abyan Farah, Edryd Wright, Hawys Owen-Casey, Megan and Elwen Wright with principal Mr. Gary Evans, parent Katie Farah with son Ashkir and parent Kate Wright. Photo Mandy Jones

A village school struggling for its survival has launched a campaign to preserve its future by attracting students from neighboring communities.

Parents at Ysgol Llannefydd, near Denbigh, say it is a ‘brilliant’ Welsh language school that offers a great, well-rounded education that prepares their children well for the rest of their lives.

There is no imminent threat of closure, but the school would be in a “precarious” position if there was a further drop in student numbers, according to Governor Glesni Owen.

The school list has dropped to 11 and an automatic consultation process on his future will be triggered if the number of children drops below 10.

With few local children expected to reach school age in the next few years, parents and governors have joined forces to recruit young people from neighboring communities.

Governor Glesni Owen added, “Governors and the Conwy Local Education Authority want the school to remain open and viable for future generations of learners.

“However, if we see a further downsizing of the current enrollment, the school will be in an extremely precarious position.

“As a community at large, we must act now not only to ensure a more secure future for our school, but also for all other community activities in which the school plays a fundamental role and to ensure a future for them as well. “

St Asaph and Bodelwyddan are particular targets because, unlike Llannefydd, they do not have primary schools that can provide education with Welsh as a first language.

Among the strengths of Ysgol Llannefydd is the high level of individual attention given to children with a pupil-teacher ratio comparable to that found in private schools.

Together, the 11 students benefit from having three teachers including principal Gari Evans, a class assistant, a cook and a guard.


High school teacher Katie Farah, who is currently on maternity leave, lives in St Asaph and brings her four year old son, Abyan, to the school she calls “fantastic”.

Although she does not speak Welsh, she wanted Abyan to receive an education in Welsh and her little brother, Ashkir, one year old, will follow in her footsteps when he is of school age.

Katie said: “We appreciate the school because there is an in-depth knowledge of every child and they value every child, which has been especially important during the pandemic as Abyan feels safe when he goes to school.

“We don’t speak Welsh at home, so one of the advantages is that he learns Welsh and receives a bilingual education. It’s just priceless.

“The students get a full and comprehensive education, and the environment is one of the best.

“I encourage all parents to come and see Ysgol Llannefydd.

“I think if they had the opportunity to connect with the staff here, online or physically, they would see the sweetness that is so evident as soon as you walk into school.”

Ysgol Ysgol Llannefydd; Pictured is parent Katie Farah with sons Abyan and Ashkir. Photo Mandy Jones


It was a sentiment endorsed by babysitter Kate Wright whose three children, Megan, 10, Elwen, eight, and Edryd, five, all date Ysgol Llannefydd.

Kate said: “This is a fantastic school in a beautiful setting and we are really lucky to have it on our doorstep.

“The fact that it is a Welsh language school was very important to us as I had learned Welsh at school but as a second language.

“Although I am now working in Welsh, it took me a long time to gain this confidence.

“My children are perfectly bilingual, they can just switch between the two languages ​​and that happened during the first two years of school.

“The advantage that they come to a small school is that they are really like a small family, so the older ones help the younger ones and it’s just a really lovely environment.

“You see them playing outside of school and they take care of each other, and I think that’s an important quality to have wherever you go.

“They also have a very solid education in all subjects and because it’s a small school, they get more individual attention. It is definitely a bonus. These are the ratios of private education.

“It would be really good to attract new families because it is really important to safeguard the future of this school because it is a vital asset for the community.

“There is a strong sense of community here and it would be very sad to see the school closed and lost forever.”

‘First class’

Principal Gari Evans, the son of a farmer from the nearby village of Bylchau, was appointed in 2015 and describes the school as an ‘extended family’.

He said: “The first-rate standard of teaching and the varied experiences offered to children lead to high levels of education.

“Everyone is cooperating wonderfully and we have no problem with our behavior.

“One of the advantages of teaching at a small village school like Ysgol Llannefydd is that it is almost private education. The staff-to-student ratio is fantastic, but it is clear that there is no charge.

“The first-class education standard combined with the enrollment ratio means that the individual needs of each learner are met.

“In addition, the facilities are excellent here and the information technology is individual – everyone has equipment for online learning.

“On top of that, the picturesque location is idyllic and there is plenty of space for outdoor activities.

“Unfortunately, no new houses are being built here, so we have to attract more students from outside the village itself.

‘We have not reached the point where the county or the Welsh government are looking to shut down the school, but we have to make sure that we prepare for the future and try to attract more students from outside the school as well. the region.

“Bodelwyddan and St. Asaph are not too far, about four miles apart, so our school is eminently accessible.

“We think Ysgol Llannefydd offers something unique and special and I would be more than happy to talk to all expectant parents and tell them about all we have to offer.”

All parents wishing to learn more about Ysgol Llannefydd should contact Principal Gari Evans either by calling the school on 01745 540228 or by sending an email to [email protected]

Sylvester L. Goldfarb