Aberhafesp primary under threat may shut this year

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A primary school earmarked for closure could shut sooner than expected after pupil numbers "plunged" in the wake of a poor inspection.

Powys council said Aberhafesp school, near Newtown, was no longer viable after it was placed in special measures by education watchdog Estyn.

The school is one of 11 primaries with fewer than 30 pupils which is already earmarked for closure by the council.

With pupils only expected to number six by September, it could shut this year.

Aberhafesp was placed in special measures after an inspection last November found it lacked "a clear direction and a sense of purpose".

It was also found to have shortcomings in leadership and teaching, although Estyn said there were some good features.

But Coun David Jones, who is responsible for schools at the council, said pupil numbers had "plunged" since the poor inspection.

He said: "Closing a small school is never an easy decision but it is clear that Aberhafesp Primary School is no longer viable.

"Pupils numbers have been falling for a number years but have plunged following the Estyn report. If it remained open the cost per pupil would be approximately four times the county average.

Mr Jones said he was recommending formal closure consultation starts immediately and that the school closed as soon as possible.

Coun Joy Shearer, who represents Aberhafesp on Powys council, said: "It'll be a sad day if the school closes because a school is the heart of a community."

Powys council's ruling board will be asked to start the process when it meets next Tuesday.

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