North East Wales

Rhyl schools closures approved for new Catholic high

Blessed Edward Jones High School would close under the plans Image copyright Google
Image caption Blessed Edward Jones High School would close under the plans

Plans for a new £24m school complex in Denbighshire have been approved by the council.

Rhyl's Ysgol Mair Roman Catholic primary and the adjacent Blessed Edward Jones Catholic high will now be subject to formal notices to close from August 2019.

The plan is to open a new Catholic school for three to 16-year-olds on the site the following month.

Of 108 responses to a consultation, 98 were in favour.

Some parents felt the money should be spent on upgrading the two existing schools rather than replacing them.

But it was estimated that Ysgol Mair needs more than £400,000 spent on it and £1.3m on Blessed Edward Jones School.

Denbighshire council said those costs represented the minimum amount of work required to maintain the schools, and would not "enhance the learning environment".

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ysgol Mair school would need more than £400,000 to be upgraded

Concerns had also been raised about the decline in the number of pupils attending Blessed Edward Jones, especially since the opening of the new Rhyl High School.

The council said it was aware of the impact and the new model would offer a different choice for parents.

Schools inspectors Estyn said both schools had projected deficit budgets for the next two years, adding that the proposals had "not considered well enough how the new school will be supported financially in its first few years of operation as low cohorts move, in particular, through the secondary phase of the school".

But the authority said the financial position would be carefully reviewed based on pupil numbers.

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