Powys rural school closure plan is approved

Ysgol Llanerfyl Image copyright Google
Image caption Ysgol Llanerfyl was earmarked to close after consultation last year

Powys council leaders have backed plans to close a rural Welsh-medium primary school and merge it with another two-and-a-half miles away.

The closure of Ysgol Llanerfyl will save £50,000 a year, with pupils being transferred to a revamped Ysgol Dyffryn Banw in Llangadfan, opening in 2020.

The council has said the merger would boost opportunities for pupils.

But Rhian Owen, chair of the governors at Llanerfyl, claimed the move would be "detrimental" to the Welsh language.

In a letter presented to cabinet members, she said the consultation had "caused deep rifts within the community".

Llanerfyl parents and governors had previously argued that their site offered the local authority better value for money, claiming the building was cheaper to run and therefore a more sustainable option.

The new school will be opened as a Welsh-medium, voluntary-aided Church in Wales school.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The new school will open on the site of Ysgol Dyffryn Banw

Richard Tudor, chairman of the governors at Dyffryn Banw, said the years of uncertainty for the school's future had "been a dark cloud over us for a long time", prompting some families to leave the area.

"We are glad that there has been a conclusion, but we don't rejoice in the fact that one school has been chosen over the other," he said.

"We must now look forward to a bright future as one school with the hope that everyone will support it."

The council said that since March nine pupils have moved from Llanerfyl to Llangadfan.

It means 32 pupils currently receive their education at Dyffryn Banw school, with 20 remaining on the Llanerfyl site.

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