South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies has repeated his calls for Llancarfan Primary School to remain open – after Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams confirmed that new rules governing rural school closures should be followed.
Changes to the School Organisation Code 2013 – set to come into force in November – will include a presumption against the closure of rural schools – including Llancarfan.
Speaking in the Senedd – Ms Williams said it had been made “very clear” that the policy was set to change – and that local authorities should have this in mind when making decisions regarding the future of such schools.
Mr Davies said, “Llancarfan Primary School is listed among those which should remain open in the new School Organisation Code – so pupils and parents are rightly asking why it has been earmarked for closure.
“While this version of the Code is not yet in force – the Cabinet Secretary has been quite clear that this guidance should be followed – despite it not officially coming in until November.
“This points to saving the school – and the Council must consider this when making their decision.”
Ms Williams also confirmed that funding under the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme did not only apply to new builds – and that money under the scheme has been used to refurbish existing schools.
The Council has cited the scheme as the reason for the closure – to access funds to build a new school in Rhoose.
In response – Mr Davies said, “The business case for the closure has been based on the funds available for a new school in Rhoose – under the 21st Century Schools Programme.
“But the Cabinet Secretary’s comments show that monies can be available under the scheme to upgrade existing sites – including Llancarfan.
“This shows the strength of the argument against the closure – and it is vital these proposals are rejected.”