Abersoch school closure backed despite governors' pleas

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Image source, Alan M Fryer
Image caption, With 10 pupils, the school is less than a quarter full

Council bosses are pressing on with plans to close a village primary school despite pleas to give it more time.

Governors wrote to Gwynedd Council saying new programmes at 10-pupil Ysgol Abersoch, including a nursery group, should be allowed to flourish.

Local councillor Dewi Wyn Roberts added the school was one of the last bastions of the Welsh language in the village.

But the council's cabinet voted unanimously to proceed with a consultation to close the school.

Education officers have said closing the school by next summer could save nearly £100,000 a year.

They said it was not sustainable to keep the school running when it was less than a quarter full.

However, the governors urged the Plaid Cymru-led cabinet to remember the party's stance on support for the Welsh language.

They also claimed that holding public consultation virtually because of coronavirus "excluded contributions from the majority of governors, parents and other important stakeholders".

Councillor Roberts also called for a pause, saying pupil numbers could be boosted by embryonic plans to create 40 new jobs and more affordable homes in Abersoch, a village dubbed the "second-home capital" of north Wales.

"I feel there's an aspect of cherry-picking at play here, without looking in full at other factors," he told the virtual cabinet meeting.

"I sincerely hope you are brave enough to challenge this report and take a step back and pause."

Image source, jonpic/Getty Images
Image caption, Abersoch is popular with second-home buyers, who have even snapped up beach huts

Unusually for Gwynedd, Ysgol Abersoch serves pupils only up to the end of school year three, before they move on to Ysgol Sarn Bach for the next three years.

If closure is approved, pupils would attend Ysgol Sarn Bach for the entirety of their primary education.

The results of the statutory consultation are expected over the coming months, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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