North West Wales

Anglesey council's new framework for school places

Anglesey council has drawn up a new plan to help address a decline in pupil numbers in its schools.

The authority, currently being run by commissioners, said it will attempt to protect smaller communities at risk of losing their local school.

But it has warned it must tackle the high number of surplus places iat the same time.

Anglesey acting chief executive Richard Parry Jones said schools needed a 21st Century infrastructure.

"The modernisation of our schools remains a top priority for the authority," he said.

The Welsh Government appointed commissioners to run Anglesey in March after stripping councillors of all executive powers.

Commissioner Gareth Jones, who has responsibility for education, said: "The framework policy will be developed over time to ensure that the modernisation process helps maintain sustainable communities on Anglesey.

"There is certainly no one-size fits all answer to problems facing the island's schools, but we must rise to the challenge of safeguarding sustainable communities as demanded by the Welsh Government."

The Welsh Government has recommended that the national target for surplus places be set at a maximum of 10%.

School closure

All councils have been told to revisit their school rationalisation plans and present them by December 2012.

In Anglesey around 26% of primary school places remain unfilled, with 22.3% going surplus in secondary schools.

Anglesey recently saw the closure of Ysgol Tŷ Mawr and Ysgol Llandrygarn in August 2010 and Ysgol Aberffraw and Ysgol Llanddeusant are scheduled to close in August 2011.

Anglesey's education and leisure scrutiny committee chairman, Coun Derlwyn Hughes, said: "The new policy framework is not just about the closure of small schools.

"It's much more than that, as it seeks long term solutions in developing a modern and contemporary education provision within modern infrastructure that is consistent with the expectations of 21st Century schools."

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