North West Wales

Gwynedd council votes Ysgol y Parc, Bala, will close

Councillors in Gwynedd have voted to close one of the county's smallest schools.

Ysgol y Parc near Bala has just 19 pupils which the council says is too small to be viable.

The closure is part of a wider reorganisation, but local people say they will appeal the decision.

Gwynedd council says the reorganisation is the only way to address the financial challenges the authority faces.

Elin Davies of the Ysgol y Parc Defence Group said: "This is absolutely not the end of it.

"We will be battling on and will gain support from the councillors who voted in our favour and we will now move to contest the decision at the Welsh assembly."

Plaid Cymru councillor Elwyn Edwards, who voted against his own party to oppose the closure, said the school was the "heart of the community".

School governor Euros Puw added: "I would urge them to consider carefully before they decide to close the school.

"£2,000 a child extra is not much to pay to uphold a tradition that is centuries-old."

Gwynedd councillors voted in favour of establishing a lifelong learning campus in Bala to replace Ysgol y Berwyn, Ysgol Beuno Sant and Ysgol Bro Tegid in the town.

They also voted to upgrade Ysgol O M Edwards and invest in Ysgol Ffridd y Llyn and Ysgol Bro Tryweryn.

'Negative policy'

The vote, taken by the full council, marks the final decision on the future of Ysgol y Parc following consultation during January and February.

The council says the closure will save around £70,000 per year and strengthen pupils' Welsh language use.

It has presented a bid to the Welsh assembly government for £7.7m towards the £10.2m plan to reorganise education in the Berwyn catchment area.

A decision on that bid is expected during the summer of 2011. August 2012 is the deadline when children will be moving schools unless the appeal succeeds.

Gwynedd council's education portfolio leader, Liz Saville Roberts, said: "The reorganisation strategy is the only way for the council to address the financial problems that are facing our schools and some of the challenges in terms of education and headteachers that we desperately need to be looking at now."

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