South West Wales

Protest at Neath Port Talbot school closures meeting

Protest
Image caption Protesters in Port Talbot make their voices heard

Five small primary schools in Neath Port Talbot could be closed under plans discussed by senior councillors.

Parents held a protest before the cabinet meeting in Port Talbot, where councillors approved formal consultation plans.

Closures are the recommended option in a review which has looked at issues including surplus pupil places and school maintenance.

It also examines the loss of identity on local areas.

Bryn village's primary school currently only has 55 pupils and it faces a £475,000 maintenance backlog, says the report.

The council estimates it could save £5100,000 over five years if pupils move to the larger Cwmafan Primary School 2.6 miles (4km) away.

But it admits there would be an increase in travel time and a "loss of identity for the school community resulting from the closure".

Richard Thomas, who has a four-year-old daughter at Tonmawr, said the the whole community was disgusted at the proposal and said it was a "perfect school".

The schools affected - and where pupils would go:

Bryn Primary School, Port Talbot - 51% unfilled places - pupils would move to Cwmafan Primary.

Clun Primary School, Neath - 53% unfilled places - pupils would move to Ynysfach Primary

Pontrhydyfen Primary School, Afan Valley - 21 % unfilled places - pupils would move to Cwmafan Primary

Tonmawr Primary School, Afan Valley - 46% unfilled places - pupils would move to Crynallt Primary

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg, Cwmgors - 37% unfilled places - pupils would transfer to Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gwaun Cae Gurwen

Source: Neath Port Talbot Council.

The consultation process will start later this month and end on 16 January 2015. The closures would happen next September.

Meanwhile, the council has announced a £40m super-school for Baglan Bay, which will take 1,500 primary, secondary and special needs pupils.

It will replace Cwrt Sart Community School, Glanafan Comprehensive School, Sandfields Comprehensive School and Traethmelyn Primary School.

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