South West Wales

Two Carmarthenshire schools with no pupils to close

Two schools in Carmarthenshire that no longer have any pupils may remain officially open until next summer.

Formal proceedings are to start to close Capel Cynfab Church in Wales School and Rhydcymerau Primary School.

Carmarthenshire council's executive board member for education said it was "sad" the process could take so long but all teachers had been redeployed.

The Welsh government says it has published a White Paper aimed at streamlining the process.

Carmarthenshire's executive board heard on Monday the last remaining pupils at both schools near Llandovery had left in the summer.

All teaching staff had been redeployed and the costs incurred were now "minimal".

Education member Gwynne Wooldridge said: "It's still sad that we've got to go through the statutory consultation.

"They need to speed to the process up. It does take longer that we would like.

"I'm not blaming the minister - he said he was looking at this and doing all he can."

New system

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said at the moment the law required local authorities to consult on any proposed school closure and to publish a statutory notice giving one month for the submission of objections.

If none were forthcoming then the council could go ahead and close the school.

However if just one objection is received the matter must be referred to Welsh ministers for determination.

It hopes a new system will come into force next year.

The spokesperson added: "Under the new process, if a local authority wishes to close a school with no remaining pupils, it would no longer need to consult prior to the publication of a notice.

"Furthermore, irrespective of whether objections are received, the final say in the matter will rest with the local authority.

"The Welsh government anticipates that these changes will significantly shorten the closure process but at the same time will ensure that interested parties continue to have their views considered before a final determination is made."

Last month it emerged a school in neighbouring Neath Port Talbot was still open despite only have two pupils.

Neath Port Talbot council says Ysgol y Glyn in Lower Brynamman will close by the end of the year.

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