Wales

Bodffordd school closure complaint to be examined by minister

Protest against the closure of Ysgol Gymuned Bodffordd, Anglesey Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Campaigners fear school closures will threaten the future of Welsh-speaking communities

Campaigners fighting to save a village school have been given fresh hope as the education minister investigates a complaint about the closure decision.

Kirsty Williams said she would check if Anglesey County Council followed new rules to protect rural schools in the case of Ysgol Gymuned Bodffordd.

Welsh language campaigner Ffred Ffransis said the minister's response to their complaint was "heartening".

The council said it was liaising with the Welsh Government over the matter.

The School Organisation Code, introduced in November, sets a presumption that councils should try to keep rural schools open, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

However, council bosses vowed in December to press ahead with plans to close the 80-pupil primary school in Bodffordd despite 111 letters of objection.

It is due to be replaced by a new 360-pupil school in Llangefni, along with Ysgol Corn Hir, whose governors support the changes because of their cramped and outdated conditions.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Campaigners say the primary school is at the heart of their community

Ffred Ffransis, from the Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, said Llangefni needed new school buildings, but not at the expense of rural communities around the town.

"If it's possible to close a popular and full school like Bodffordd, where 89% of the children are from Welsh-speaking families, then no rural school is safe," he said.

"The minister's response is very heartening, and we believe she is taking the matter seriously in order to ensure that her new policy protecting rural schools is not undermined."

In a letter to Cymdeithas, Ms Williams said: "I have asked my officials to consider the matters you have brought to my attention, and whether they represent a failure to conform with the Code."

A spokesman for Anglesey County Council said: "We are aware of concerns raised and that a complaint has been lodged.

"Our officers are currently considering the complaint. They will also be liaising with colleagues in Welsh Government in respect of this matter."

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